Friday, April 27, 2012

Continuing to Find Myself

I think the first crack in the fog of adoption loss happened for me when I was pregnant with my youngest son.  My husband had been begging for a third child, I didn't want another one.  He works in construction, very long hours 6 and sometimes 7 days a week during the summer.  Days would go by without the kids (and sometimes myself) seeing him ~ he would leave before we were awake and come home after we were asleep for the night.  I was a married single mother and used that excuse for why I didn't want another child.  I once had the thought enter my head that I didn't want another child, I wanted the one I wasn't able to raise.  As quickly as that thought entered my head, I shooed it away and swiftly forgot about it (or so I thought...).  Thankfully he had started wearing me down and I finally was considering having another child, because I found out the hard way that antibiotics don't play well with birth control!

Even though I didn't consciously acknowledge my missing son's effect on my life, my brain and my body knew of it.  It was shortly after my youngest son was born that I began to put on a lot of weight.  I can look back now and easily see what I was doing, but I had no clue at the time.  I was trying to fill the hole in my heart with food.  That worked for a few years (in the process gaining almost 100 pounds). 

After that I began trying to fill that hole with "things".  I spent money we didn't have on things we didn't really need.  It was financial problems that I was no longer able to hide from my husband that cracked open the door of denial for me.  What the hell was wrong with me?  I was a grown adult, why couldn't I get control of my life?  What was I doing to myself, my husband, our marriage, our kids and our future?  Everything always came back to the loss of Christopher.  I finally handed over our financial matters to my husband and started doing some soul work.  It would still be a couple more years though before I finally was strong and brave enough to say enough is enough.  I knew that I needed to find someone to talk to, to finally deal with the loss of my son to adoption and to deal with the effects of that loss, as well as the denial of that loss, on every aspect of my life.  After that I was going to start the search for him. 

As you may know, we were reunited by a search angel just three days before the date I had set to find a therapist and make an appointment with him/her.  I truly believe that God had his hand on my plans, because if I had found a therapist, chances are pretty high that it would have been someone who believed in the sunshine and rainbows and would have easily been able to put me right back into that closet of denial. 

In the last 3+ years after that search angel changed my life, I have become a different person.  I got rid of the false beliefs, I have come to have a sense of acceptance over the loss of Christopher and an acceptance of myself.  I got rid of the financial issues and no longer feel the need to buy things "just because".  I have un-cluttered my house (mostly!), it's now a house of calm vs a house of chaos visually. 

I however still carry the extra weight.  Towards the end of March I decided that it was time to quit hiding under it.  I decided that I was going to see if I could make some drastic changes in April ~ and I did!  I knew that I wouldn't be able to just cut back in a couple of things, it had to be a huge jump into eating healthy.  It had to be all or nothing.  I quit eating/drinking "white" stuff ~ sugar, flour (which includes bread and pasta), dairy.  I even gave up alcohol for the month!  (And I love my margaritas, or a glass of wine sometimes after dinner)  I was only going to eat and drink real foods.  Lean meats, veggies (LOTS of them!), and some fruit.  I am proud to say that with only three days left in the month I have been very successful.   Despite the birthday and anniversary parties, 1st Communion celebrations, snacks at school every day, I have only had a few bites of cake and cookies, no breads, just a couple of bites of pasta.  Oddly, it wasn't the sweets that were in danger of being quickly consumed by me ~ it was the breads and chips that about did me in several times.  I did have a couple of chips a few times, just enough to get a small fix of salty and crunchy.  I had NO Pepsi ~ not a single drink!!  (and if you knew me, you would know how impossible that thought was!) I am going to continue eating only "real" food, but I am going to try adding back a little bit of dairy (cheese please) and some whole grains now and then.  I feel so much better, my skin is clearer, as are my sinuses.  I don't know what foods were causing those problems, so I will add foods slowly to avoid those issues again.

As of this morning, I am down exactly 19 pounds!  Without starving.  I ate whenever I was hungry ~ it just had to be real food.  I think a big part of the loss has just been the mind set.  I now realize that I was holding onto the weight as a way to continue hiding from myself ~ from my true self that is.  I think Christopher's silence was also a big part of me getting to this point.  I had to face some things that I still hadn't faced, until I was forced to with his silence.   I had to look deeper inside myself, I became stronger in the loss of him. 

This may sound corny/new-agey to you, but I also found help not just in my own mindset, but it was as if the universe was also helping me along.  It seemed that everywhere I looked, everywhere I read, I was seeing messages to help me along my way, helping me to be strong.  I will share those messages of inspiration with you soon!

Oh ~ and by the way ~ even though I still hadn't heard from Christopher, he texted my daughter last weekend to tell her that he was going to be fairly close-by again, and came to join us for dinner Wednesday night!  I don't need to tell you that it was a fabulous evening ~ about four hours with all my children together again.  Heaven!  Yesterday I suffered from an emotional hangover that always hits after a visit, but today I'm just thankful and feeling blessed that things are still coming together, even when they sometimes feel as though they are coming apart!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family Preservation

I have written about this before, but after the controversy at Circle of Moms and the controversy going on in a forum I belong to, I wanted to write about it again. This post however is mostly written out of emotions.  If you want a post to really learn from, go read my first post on this topic:  Family Preservation, Not Anti-Adoption

I am not anti-adoption, despite what some may say.  When some people throw out the "anti-adoption" label, it's like saying that the person hates puppies and everything nice in the world.  It's often hate filled.  It almost always comes from somebody who really needs to learn about the other side of adoption.

It hurts when people refuse to see that adoption happens only after great tragedy.  No matter how wonderful the adoption story is for the adoptive family, that joy is built on life-long grief that is unimaginable by anyone who isn't living it. 

I honestly do not understand how people don't see the terrible wrongs in infant adoption. 

I honestly don't understand how a woman could watch a new mother crying over losing her child, yet think it's "the right thing". 

I will never understand a prospective parent being angry that a mother and child are able to stay together.  Yes ~ I understand that their hopes of finally being a parent themselves are dashed.  But to be angry at a mother for deciding to parent her baby ~ the baby that she has nurtured in her womb for nine months?  The baby that she has been agonizing over for the last several months?  The baby that she loves more than life itself?  Is their grief so deep that they no longer have any compassion?  Could that prospective mother and/or father really feel good about taking the baby from the mother if she wasn't 100% sure that she did not want to raise the baby herself? 

I will never understand how a woman can read or hear the words of grief and loss from a mother who lost a child to adoption, yet tear her apart for daring to speak against the beauty of adoption or write her off as "just another "bitter" birthmom". 

I will never understand how a woman can tell a mother of adoption loss that "adoption is different now", thereby erasing the validity of her grief and loss. 

Again, adoption is built on loss ~ tremendous loss for both the mother and the child.  Even if it truly is the choice of the mother, it's still a tremendous loss. 

I live the life as a mother without her child due to adoption loss.  And I WAS one of those mothers who was 100% sure.  Yet, I still wish this life on NOBODY. 

I am so very lucky to be reunited with my son, I am so blessed to know that he did get great parents, he had a wonderful childhood and has a wonderful life.  Yet, I still wish this life on NOBODY.

I was somehow able to "just get on with my life", just like the so-called counselor told me to do.  I met and fell in love with my husband when Christopher was just about 8 months old.  32 years later we are still together.  We raised three wonderful kids, who have given us 7 beautiful grandchildren (with another one due in August!).  I have a job I love, we live in a house we built ourselves.  Life is great.  Yet, I still wish this life on NOBODY.  The grief and loss is there under the surface of every great thing in my life.  

I do not have the life I do because I didn't have the "burden" of being a teen mom.  I have what I do DESPITE the loss of my son to adoption.  DESPITE the effects that adoption has had on every single aspect of my life. 

I advocate for keeping a family together if at all possible ~ family preservation.  Family should be sacred.  Family preservation should be the goal of everyone.  The tearing apart of a family should be something to avoid at all costs.  How sad that is not the case when it comes to newborn infant adoption in this country...

So call me anti- adoption if you want.  I know and live the truth of adoption loss.  If I can save one mother from knowing the gaping hole in her heart and soul from losing a child to adoption, then your name calling is worth it to me. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Thoughts on the "Circle of Moms"

I'm sure you all know about the "Circle of Moms" blog contest by now.  It is a sad statement about the purpose of that website.   It isn't for all moms.  It's for moms they deem worthy of being on the website.  This excludes anyone who speaks anything other than the fabulous rainbows and sunshine of adoption.

I managed to get a pdf printed of the contest page just seconds before it was taken down.  So I was still able to go read some of the blogs listed to see what the big deal was.  Why some were "offended".  The only things I read that I felt were not supportive were the blogs where the bloggers and the comments to the bloggers were bashing those they deemed "anti adoption" or "adoption haters".  The blogs that had the worst bashing of people were on blogs that praise the institution of adoption. 

Here are the Top 25 blogs, their number of votes, and place in the triad as of taking the contest down:

1.  The Declassified Adoptee ~ 360 ~ adult adoptee
2.  Musings of the Lame ~ 301~ natural mother
3.  The R House ~ 265~ adoptive mother
4.  Dreaming Big Dreams ~ 244 ~ adoptive mother
5.  Adoption Talk ~ 213 ~ adoptive mother
6.  Neither Here Nor There ~ 207 ~ adult adoptee
7.  Ordinary Miracles & The Crazy 9 ~ 198~ adoptive mother
8.  The Sky Is Laughing ~ 195 ~ adoptive mother
9.  Finding My Way To My Little Starfish ~ 182 ~ adoptive mother
10.  Marvelous Love ~ 170 ~ adoptive mother
11. iAdoptee ~ 160 ~ adult adoptee
12.  To Tell The Truth - Please Stand Up ~ 157 ~ foster care alumni
13.  Ethiopian Ties ~ 151 ~ adoptive mom
14.  Traded Dreams ~ 130 ~ adoptive mom
15.  Marty's Musings ~ 113 ~ adoptive mom
16.  Costain Party of Six ~ 113 ~ adoptive mom
17.  Write Mind Open Heart ~ 113 ~ adoptive mom
18.  Welcome to my Brain ~ 104 ~ adoptive mom (and adoptee/natural mom?  seems like I read that before on her blog?
19.  Rage Against the Minivan ~ 102 ~ adoptive mom
20.  Last Mom ~ 99 ~ older-child adoptive mom
21.  Ni Hao Y'all ~ 97 ~ adoptive mom
22.  The Road Less Traveled ~ 96 ~ adoptive mom
23.  I Will Pull This Blog Over! ~ 96 ~ adoptive mom
24.  the5parkers ~ 83 ~ foster care adoption
25.  On Our Hearts ~ my pdf cut off right after the title of the blog!

Not in the Top 25, but their posts regarding this should be read:

Adoption Truth ~ Cassi was the one removed from the contest ~ the beginning of the end...  I have never thought of Cassi's blog as being offensive.  Not even her post after finding out she had been removed from the contest.

Production, Not Reproduction ~ adoptive mom, I think she took herself off the list in protest after Cassi's removal?  I think there were others who removed themselves from the list also.  If you know of any, please feel free to add them in the comments. 

One Option Means No Choice

Since some people felt offended by what others were writing, causing this fiasco, I thought I would add some of the things I found offensive.  Funny how most of those offensive things I read last night and this morning are gone.  Hmmm...

What was it that offended me?  People who were name-calling and bashing those who spoke out of the negative aspects of adoption.  Calling us "haters" and such.  Although now I have no proof since most of them have been deleted.  Oh well.  I guess if anything positive came out of this mess it's that someone realized that they were going a little bit too far hating on those they were calling haters...  

There were a few blatant lies posted though.  This one I found particularly offensive: (directly copied ~ misspelling is theirs)

Really?  I didn't see anyone in the top 25 personally attack any blogs nor bloggers themselves.  I didn't see any blogs flooded with negative comments, nor hear of anyone receiving threatening emails.  Maybe this did happen, but I didn't see any proof of it.

As I was going through the blogs just now, I was only offended (strongly) by one thing I read:

Not sure what happened, but it's so incredibly sad that we as an adoption community can't come together and truly embrace the reality that adoption is a loving response to a tragic reality.
Excuse me? adoption is a loving response to a tragic reality? Is she calling an unplanned pregnancy a tragic reality?  Maybe I'm wrong and the tragic reality is that a mother and her child were separated.  But then where does the loving response come in?  Nope.  I still think she was being very offensive.  I don't know the percentage, but the majority of children born in the world come from unplanned pregnancies.  Two of the children I was lucky to raise were not planned.  Are they tragic realities??  I think not. 

I could see someone being offended by things said on one adoptive mother and one adult adoptee blog.  If they were looking to be offended...

Here are some of the good things that came out of this fiasco:

...when I was accused of being "anti-adoption," the short-hand equivalent of not writing about adoption in "a supportive, positive way:"

 BUT this post is important because it calls out the very, very important reasons we need to continue to break the stereotypes surrounding adoption.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Letting Go

From this quote at the very beginning of the blog post on Metta Drum, I was intrigued...

We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us.
Jean-Paul Sartre

The following is my rambling brain trying to talk my way through the meaning of Daniel's post (which is in the brown all-caps text) in regards to my life.   This post is just a rambling mess, as are my thoughts...

Lately I've been exploring this idea of transformation as letting go. Letting go of what I no longer resonate with, and nurturing the deeper "me" underneath all that, instead of trying to patch myself up in an attempt to become something new and improved. 

I did let go of that confused, scared, all-alone-in-the-world 15 year old girl who had to give her son up for adoption.

Now I want to let go the wanting more.  I know that there IS no more to be had.  In order to have the more that my heart and soul search for, I would have had to raised my son. In order to have more, my son would also want to have more.

I want to let go of the hurt.  Is there a way to heal the hurts of losing a child to adoption?  Not to just accept it, but to heal it?

I feel that I am a new and improved version of myself ~ having come out of the adoption closet, out of the denial, I've gotten rid of the false beliefs.  But is there more than that?  Can I get to the deeper “me” underneath all of that?

Scraping the layers of paint and dirt off of the mirror, so to speak.
I think we lose sight of who we are when we find ourselves identifying with the paint and the dirt. We think all those layers of "stuff" define us, and then we feel defective. So we try to become less of this, and more of that.
In this way, we continually create a distorted, unsatisfying sense of Self.
You won't find any long-term solutions in the less of this, more of that approach. Instead, consider the idea that the You you've been searching for is already present within you, just waiting for conscious connection. Let go of the idea that you need fixing, because deep down, you aren't really broken. 

Am I really not broken?  I'm Christopher's mother ~ I gave birth to him.  Yet I didn't raise him.  Yet my heart and soul feel him as my son.  Yet...  It's an endless circle.

The truth of the matter is that I gave birth to a son who is not in my life as my soul yearns for him to be.  Is the conscious connection that needs to be made just the "knowing" that I am indeed a mother to my firstborn child?  That I'm not just a "birthmother"  (God, I HATE that word!)  I think I have scraped some of the layers off ~ I no longer look at myself as a "birthmother", I now know that I was always much more than the egg donor and incubator I believed I was.

Is it that the me I've been searching for is already present in me ~ just the knowledge and belief that I am and was always his mother, despite signing those damn papers?

Is the idea that  I need Christopher to truly be a part of my life in order to be "fixed" a false idea?  In writing out all of my pondering here, the answer to that is yes.  In the creating and giving birth to him I am his mother.  No, not in the way that I wish with all of my heart that I could have been, but signing a piece of paper didn't unbirth him from me.  It didn't take away my motherhood, it took away my parenthood.

You've only taken on layers of concepts, habits and dogmas that aren't serving you, and certain basic needs have gone unmet for awhile.
So begin to strip away those layers that you've built up over the course of your lifetime and discover the truth of who you are.

While I know I am so much more than a mother who lost her son to adoption, it is the biggest part of me.  Isn’t it?  I feel that it is.  It effects everything I do, everything I think, everything I am…

For example: Instead of trying to be less argumentative and more understanding of the viewpoints of others, simply let go of the need to always be right, the need to win. Underneath that, you may discover a fear that you aren't being heard, a fear of being invisible and unimportant. This fear may reveal the need for a very specific type of self-love — and once you understand where nurturing and healing are needed, you can begin your work of letting go at the source.

In being less argumentative and more understanding of the viewpoints of others in adoption, should I let go of the need to speak out of the truth of adoption loss for the mothers and adoptees?  To me it doesn’t feel like a need to always be right, it feels as though it’s a truth that needs to be told and understood.

I DO fear that I’m not being heard.  I do have the fear of being invisible and unimportant.  It’s not really a fear though...  I feel that it’s just the truth.  As far as being a mother of adoption loss, we are not listened to.  The loss that I live with every minute of every day is unimportant to anyone who believes or needs to believe in the institution of adoption.  The rainbows and sunshine of adoption are so prevalent, so deeply engrained in everything/everyone.  Except those who live with the loss of adoption.

I will admit that I do have a fear of being invisible and unimportant ~ To Christopher.  So what does that fear reveal?  What kind of self-love is even possible to overcome that?  Where do I let in the nurturing and healing for that?  What is the source of that?  How do I begin the work of letting go at the source if the source is the very soul of me, of my motherhood?

That's just one example, but it illustrates the process of letting go of the outermost layers of "stuff" and revealing the deeper issues underneath, where you can discover your root needs and begin to nurture them. This is where true healing and transformation take place. This is where your higher Self is waiting to emerge.

My root needs...  to have my son in my life.  Which he is.  Kinda.  I know where he is.  I know of his life.  And I am so very thankful for that.

The problem there is that my heart, soul, and every cell of my body feels for him as a son.  No differently than the sons I raised.  I didn't raise Christopher though...  so our relationship is...  less than?  Less than I want it to be, less than I need it to be.  Maybe that's what I have to finally accept?  That it will never, can never be, what I want/need it to be? To be completely honest with myself, right now I don't even know if what we have now is a relationship at all...

This will not be a comfortable process. You may stir up some scary, negative stuff. You may experience some very unpleasant awakenings that shake you to your core. But on the other side of this discomfort and this work, enlightenment and healing are possible. 

I have never really grieved the loss of my son.  I live with the grief, but I haven't experienced the grief.  I'm scared to allow myself to face it.  That deep, dark hole of despair.  As I referred to in another post, I'm scared of facing it because I'm scared that I won't be able to come out of it.  I fear that it's going to envelope me completely instead of just chewing me up and spitting me out. 

It won't be easy, no. But it will be worth it.

Begin the process of letting go of what you are not, and uncovering your neglected/abandoned needs. Nurture and clarify your true Self in this way. The process of transformation is really a process of discovery and refinement of who you truly are.

Today, you are not asked to change in order to become a better version of yourself. You are free to simply let go of what isn’t You. Free to let go of what isn’t magnificent and beautiful. Free to delight in the nakedness of You. The beauty and excellence of You. The fullness of You. 

Let go of what isn't me...  Let go of what isn't magnificent and beautiful...  Writing and contemplating on this entire post, I come up with two things that I need to let go of. 

The grief and loss that are trapped inside of me, unable to be expressed. 

The expectations of having "more" with Christopher. 

What if in finally allowing myself to acknowledge, feel, and express the deeply buried grief I sink into the despair, never to find my way out of the depths?
How do I let go of Christopher?  Again?  This silence is killing me.  Because I am wanting more.  So, do I just accept that there is nothing more to have, walk away and hope that one day he will again come into my life?  Do I just let go and let God?  Just as before when I went back to my life before I gave birth and gave away my first born son?  Shall I now just try to go back to my life before reading those emails on January 16th 3 years ago?  Walking away from my son again?  Is it walking away if he doesn't want me to be a part of his life? 

I thought that working through this post of Daniel's, it could help me work through some of my confusion.  I'm still confused...  Do I write Christopher a letter asking him what he wants out of this relationship?  Do I force a visit on him to discuss it in person?  Do I just go into silence as he has? 

Do I walk away from all things adoption?  The forum, the blogs...   In order to try to get back to life before reunion, I would have to.  To accept my life without keeping that adoption wound open, I would have to.  Or not?  Even if I don't keep picking at that scab, will it ever heal?