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.


  1. I find it difficult to accept some of the generalizations that are made about adoptees (or mothers for that matter) as I know too many who dont fit the alledged mold. I know some wonderful adoptees who have worked hard to establish a relationship with their mothers (five immediately come to mind) and others who are trying to. As my friend Mia once said, it takes two willing parties to do this. If one side is at all unwilling, the other party might as well just cast about aimlessly.

    (and thanks for heads up. my corporate firewall blocks FMF for some bizarre reason)

  2. "I didn't allow myself to think about the past, I took the baby I gave up for adoption out of the day."

    I did exactly the same thing! We were so "adult" together! In my case it turned out to be a good thing because of the intimidation my son has suffered from his adoptive family. I have been the "adult," painful as it is sometimes.

    However we are coming up to 4 years in a wonderful reunion. Oh, not without ups and downs mind you but on the plus side for sure.

  3. I think it is important to not compare reunions, adoptees or f Moms to other reunions, adoptees and f Moms. The damage that was done to us all is overwhelming and tremendous, but how each person reacts to this is very different. While it is nice to know that many of us do have the same feelings, it is important to keep in mind that there are many other factors involved with reunion.

    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.

  4. 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 think I was a little opposite of this. I trusted my mother right away; was all too willing and eager and excited to have her in my life. I didn't have reservations until she disappeared again after reunion. Then it got a little harder for me to trust her. With each year that's passed that I haven't heard from her - especially when she couldn't even bother to return my wedding invite let alone say she wasn't coming - has continued to harden my feelings. But I still love her... deep down.

    Adoption is just so messed up.

  5. 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!)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.

    Reunion is so complicated. I agree with Kristi as well. We seem to come to this with different perspectives and needs/desires. Maybe the trick is to give ourselves time to get to the point where we just really like each other. Isn't that where all good friendships start?