Monday, August 29, 2011

Building My Wings

Falling.  Flying.  I find myself thinking about both as I continue my journey of "finding myself" these days. I found this painting and it occured to me that maybe this is what I am doing.  Building my wings.  The first time I remember feeling as though I could fly was when I started to authentically live this life of being a mom of adoption loss ~ I found reality in "The Truth Shall Set You Free".  As often happens, something unexpected came along to knock me down into the pits of adoption loss despair again. There have been many ups and downs in this journey of finding myself after reunion with my son.  Instead of looking at that as all bad, perhaps I need to look at the falling as a time I am "building my wings", strengthening them to help me fly farther up next time.  Maybe it's in the falling that we find the strength to fly.

Thanks to Suz leaving a link in her reply on my last post, I was able to read again her post about falling.  I again found myself being drawn into Suz's experience of falling...

I fear ever getting even remotely close to facing this!  But then, as I go on to read the rest of Suz's post, especially these words:

I cannot deny that even as I fear it, I also desire it.  I want to face my grief and loss in order to move past it.  I don't want to be held prisoner by my buried emotions forever.

 Now if only I could find a way to finally do that...

Thank you to The Artsy Girl Studio for permission to use her beautiful painting "She Built Her Wings".  Artsy Girl has many other prints that I have fallen in love with, including "Be Brave" which has also given me an idea for a future blog post. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pit of Despair

The comment left by Suz on my last post has reminded me of something.  Suz said about the emotions of losing her child to adoption:
I am TERRIFIED of their power. I am afraid if I really let them out, really cried, the weak hold I have on reality would be gone for ever.
Last year as I was trying to work through yet another layer of adoption loss, I was finding myself terrified of the deep grief I was beginning to acknowledge.  It was so deep, so...  all-consuming.  I was at a loss of how to even describe it.  One day I was reading a post over at Suz's blog "Writing My Wrongs",  where she described being at an adoption-related conference and finding herself being swept down into a pit of despair, and thankfully someone behind her noticed her distress and put their hand on her shoulder, helping pull her back to reality.  (I tried to go find that post, but kept finding myself lost in reading other old posts of hers and losing track of time so I gave up.  If somehow you don't know Suz's blog, you need to check it out!) 

I so clearly remember reading her words about the fear of that pit of despair, and it was as though I was reading an exact description of the fear I hadn't been able to put words to. That fear of falling into the depths of my grief became very overwhelming last fall, it was with me constantly.  (Brought on I'm sure by the beautiful October day that I finally got to meet Christopher in person.) 

I don't know what the point to this post is, I guess I just found myself lost in the remembering about the deep fear of losing myself to the grief.  It's still there ~ the fear of falling into that pit.  Somehow I was able to bury it again, to not be overwhelmed with it.  I wish I could find somebody who could help me safely face an express the grief.  I feel as Suz speaks of in her comment:
Its a safety mechanism for me. A protection of my mind and soul and life I live today. In saying that I realize that approach has an effect on this life, but negatively effecting my life and still living is better than not living at all. I hope that some day I can truly get through it all, somehow, someway, with a safe person that I can be confident will get me through the agony and pull me out to the other side. Until that day comes, it stays in side and seeps out every now and then.

So maybe I need to stop thinking of my inability to cry as something wrong, and think of it as something keeping me safe until I am able to face those deep emotions.  Now if only I could find a way to do that...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Putting Up Walls

I had some comments on my last post that I was going to reply to, but decided to write a new post instead. 

First, about comparing reunions.  
I was generalizing in my thoughts about the different things I read at FMF.  There are many who do not fall into the "worst case scenario" when it comes to reunion, but there are many who do.  I want any expectant mother considering adoption who may stumble onto my blog to know the possibilities of "what may be" if they allow adoption into their lives.  They are not giving up their motherhood for only 18 years, it may be forever.  Reunion isn't a sure thing.  Growing a loving relationship after reunion isn't a sure thing. 

Isn't that part of what is so hard in navigating through a reunion?  There is nothing to compare to.  There are also no "rules" to follow.  When there are no rules or nothing to compare your reunion to, there is no real way to go into reunion except with trial and error.  Hopefully the error isn't enough to completely de-rail the reunion.  What works for one person will horribly fail for another.  All we can hope for is that all parties are in it for the best, and are willing to get to know each other despite ourselves.

Now for the part that has really been bothering me.
Putting up walls.
Linda said... I love the "I took the baby I gave up for adoption out of the day" comment. Once I let go of the baby who was given up for adoption (me) it really helped me. I cannot change what my Mother went through, and I cannot change what was done to me. It's taken me 45 years to get to this point.
I don't remember who it was that gave me that advice.  To take the baby I gave up out of my reunion with Christopher.  It was the best advice I received, and was a tremendous help to me when I was first navigating through reunion.  It helped me be happy to get to know the young man who Christopher is, instead of only being sad about the baby who grew up without me.  It didn't always help, there were and still are times it is impossible to take the baby out of the equation.  I love Linda's words "I cannot change what my Mother went through, and I cannot change what was done to me" ~ substitute son for mother, and it's taken me 48 years to get to this point!
lolokey said... I wasn't sure, so I went back and checked. When you met your son for your first f2f he told you one of the conditions was that you couldn't cry! Maybe you put that wall up at his request, not yours? (which by the way is a very maternal thing to do!)
Yes, that was his one condition to meeting that October day last year.  He said I couldn't cry.  Which I didn't think was going to be a problem, as I have been unable to cry in front of anyone for years.  I had become an expert at putting up the walls and not letting out my emotions.  So having Christopher put that request out there only made it more necessary for me to put and keep that wall up.  It became necessary to me to completely take that baby out of the day, in order to make it through meeting the wonderful young man without tears for the baby I lost. 

The thing that really bothers me though is that I have become so good at burying the emotions.  I feel as though it's emotionally unhealthy for me, it makes me angry at myself, it just plain drives me crazy that I don't/can't cry over all of this.  Or is it?  Am I mental (quit nodding), or is it something else?

lolokey said...I struggle with putting walls up as well. Maybe the most important thing is that we allow ourselves to feel the emotions, not beat ourselves up about when we do (or don't) feel them. Maybe we can start to learn to see our walls as a place to lean on when we need support and not use them to protect ourselves.
Is my lack of crying because I buried the tears?  Or have I actually come to a place of.... acceptance?  Maybe I need to quit beating myself up for what I think is not feeling the emotions.  I do feel love, fear, worry, etc. for Christopher, for all the loved ones in my life.  Have I been leaning on my walls, not hiding behind them?  This all sounds so stupid when I go back and read these last words.  I so wish that I was able to get the swirling thoughts out of my head and into a sentence that makes sense when written!!  I guess what I need to do is take lolokey's advice and not beat myself up for not feeling the emotions.  Because maybe that's not what's going on after all. 


I wish there was a guide book for all of this...


Monday, August 15, 2011

Thoughts from First Mother Forum

Over at First Mother Forum there have been some great posts about adoption reunion.  If any of you reading here don't know about this wonderful blog, you need to go check it out, it's one of my favorites.  The blog posts are great, the comments on them are just as good.  Several things on these recent posts had me wanting to comment, so I thought I would just write about them here. 

We natural mothers long for a kind of normalcy with our reunited daughters and sons that we cannot have. What has gone on before will not allow it.
Oh how I long for "normalcy".  Even though I know normalcy is unrealistic ~adoption takes away any sense of normal.  Adoption is not normal...

A comment from Von:  I think we all long for normalcy, but for many adoptees, most if not all, it is not possible, never will be because of the loss which reunion never 'cures', makes up for or deletes.  How to trust someone who walked out on us?
I hope that Christopher trusts me.  I hope he believes my promise to only be honest with him, no matter what he may ask.  I hope he knows that I won't ever walk out on him again.  (Just had a thought ~ maybe he thinks it isn't a good thing that he will never be rid of me!  Poor kid is stuck with me forever!)

Kristie says: I don't believe that adoptees go "in and out", "advance and retreat". We just live as we always have, not knowing where exactly we belong, trying to protect ourselves all along the way.
 So how exactly does any reunion go smoothly? If both of us are trying to protect ourselves along the way?  How do we get "beyond" that?  God, what I wouldn't give to be able to sit down with Christopher and have an honest to goodness "heart to heart" and just get it all out there without either of us taking anything the wrong way, without either of us hearing something in a hurtful way when it's not meant to be hurtful. Maybe one day...

Kristi says: But the reality is that .... For you, we are that missing part of yourself that was ripped from your body. To us, you are a curiosity - "who, what, why, when, how and where" is what we really want to know. 
This is something I wish that every expectant mother considering adoption could know, I mean really and truly KNOW.  I wish that I could have known this before reunion, before my heart went all out crazy thinking I had my son fully back in my life.  Not all adoptees feel this way, but many do.  Then there are the adoptees who do not feel this way, but will never let us know differently out of fear of being rejected again.  Or out of fear of being unloyal to the mothers who raised them.  This is a possibility that we must be ready for though ~ we may only be to our sons and daughters the answers to long wondered questions.  They already have a mom who they love and who fully loves our sons and daughters in return.  Our sons and daughters may never have had, may never have, a need for a mother/son mother/daughter relationship with us.  I've touched on this topic before ~ I'm not saying it's "wrong" for an adopted person to feel this way, it's just a possible truth in adoption.
 "We cannot sustain a loving heart in a constant state of confusion and imbalance. We start setting up our own protective walls."
I have done that. Built the walls. Again. The love I feel for Christopher, that I can't express, because some don't understand ~ and worse, the others who don't care to try to understand. It's just too much sometimes to deal with ~ it's easier if I push it down, bury it, keep it hidden behind those protective walls. I wish that it could be like it was when first in reunion again...  I find myself hiding the depths of my feelings from Christopher himself.  Sadly, I think I started building up the walls at a time that most people would begin tearing them down.  On the day that we were finally going to meet in person for the first time.  The only way I knew I would be able to make it without crying is if I wouldn't let the reality of the moment sink in.  So I buried it.  Made the meeting "less than" in my mind.  And heart.  I didn't allow myself to think about the past, I took the baby I gave up for adoption out of the day.  I was simply meeting the young man I had been happily getting to know through many emails.  I hate that I did that.  I hate that my "survival mode" is so strong that it could take over such a huge moment in my life.  I hate to admit this to myself, much less put it out there in writing.  (I will be surprised if I don't erase this last bit before posting!)
 From a comment, which sums this all up so very well (my emphasis): 

..This, I believe, is not intentional on most people's parts. It is part of the dysfunction of adoption. What happened to us was so incredibly unnatural. In more civilized societies, children and parents would never be legally banned from knowing each other even if other people are doing the upbringing of the child. The inhumanity is damaging and reunification is anything but simple.