Monday, June 25, 2012

These Words Are My Diary...

I've been discovered.  By my daughter.  I have told nobody in my real life about my writing here.  My daughter knew I was active on-line in the adoption world as I have spoken to her about some of it but I had never told her about this blog. 

In this blog I spill all the deep, dark secrets of how I came to be a mother of adoption loss.  I spill my guts here.  In real life I have never spilled it all to anyone.  Not even my husband ~ which is fairly easy because he doesn't ask about any of it, he avoids most adoption talk because he avoids the role that adoption plays in his own life.  I've only just begun in the last year or so to talk to my best friends about how deeply losing Christopher to adoption has effected my life.

My daughter told me that she had found my blog and that she had read it all.  At first I felt sick to know that she knew my deepest-darkest thoughts and feelings.  But her reaction to my writing was so positive, I soon felt relief that she had found my writings and realized that maybe my world wouldn't end if more people in my real life ever found me here. 

Last week I got a new comment on my post about deciding to go or not go to Chicago.  At first I was leery seeing the comment was from "anonymous" ~ usually it's negative replies left that way.  As I read the first words "Seriously Mom?"  I was thoroughly confused for a second.  Why would someone write a comment on here and call me mom?  Then it dawned on me that it was probably my daughter ~ and it was.  Her full comment had me laughing.

Seriously Mom? Go. Just go. What is the worst that might happen? You might cry or something? You might find yourself a little bit closer to healing? Terrible!!! Go. Go for yourself and for all those young mothers out there that don't have amazing supportive parents like I have. It will be good for you. Plus you can stay at Donna's for free and verify that her husband is a real life person and not a cat!

(To explain the last sentence ~ one of my best friends lives near Chicago, we had never met her husband over the years ~ making us jokingly wonder if he really existed)

 After getting used to the fact that my blog had been found, I've started considering telling some of my friends about it.  But I just couldn't get further than a fleeting thought of "maybe one day...".

How many people really spill their guts on their deepest-darkest feelings?  That's what I felt that my blog was ~ my diary where I spill it all.  The stories behind the loss of my son (and the feelings behind those stories) have been hidden in the dark for over 30 years.

I do tell people of my firstborn son lost to adoption now.  I think that most people in my day-to-day life know of him and his place in my life.

But the deeply personal stuff?  The stuff of diaries?  Written here, but not really spoken of...

I have been starting to let my adoption world mingle with my real-life on FaceBook.  I wasn't really prepared for the first time my blog might become a part of my real-life FB page, although I should have been I suppose...  I have to admit that I panicked, didn't approve the tag request linking to my blog.  I wrote a quick email to my daughter telling her what happened and that I wasn't sure how to feel/react/not react.  Here is her reply:
I do want to say, while you have come an amazing far way, maybe this is the universe pushing you to the next step in your journey. I know your feelings and opinions about adoption are personal to you and you keep them separate from your private life, but I hope that's a genuine choice and not one driven by fear. Fear of others with differing opinions disagreeing and therefore judging you, fear of letting people in real life know you (gasp) stand firm on a big issue. 

I started to reply to her that it wasn't my opinions on adoption that I was fearful of, it was fear of everyone reading my deeply personal feelings and thoughts.  In replying that, it dawned on me.  Was what I wrote really too terribly personal, too terribly private and deep?  Or was it that I just felt as though it was too deeply personal? Did it only seem to be so horribly "deep" because of the decades spent being silent on anything related to the loss of my son to adoption? 

So I spent the next couple of nights going back and reading my old posts.  Yes, some of my writing in the beginning was the personal details of how I came to be a mother of adoption loss.  But the majority of what I write here is far from personal.  It's mostly my thoughts and opinions on adoption that I am more than comfortable speaking out about now.

I spent so many years, three decades actually, hiding my truth from everyone in my life that speaking out at all about adoption felt so deeply personal.

In reality it isn't.

I'm still not too sure about letting people in my real life know about my blog. 

But the idea is a little less frightening now.

Although... a soundtrack plays in the back of my head ~
I'm hearing these words from one of my favorite songs:

"2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to.

And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"The Strings of Life"

I stumbled onto the writing of Dabeshim a couple of days ago.  One of his poems caught me from the very first stanza.  I again am amazed at how the words of someone adopted can be so meaningful to me as a mother of adoption loss.  Below is the poem, interspersed with my own rambling thoughts brought to mind as I read the words. 

There once was a day
The winds were cold, darkness creped as far
As the inside, It had its say
We did as others wished
Serving them on a golden dish.
We knew no other way.
Like marionettes we lived,
Upon the Strings of Life.
Giving no thought at all.

The Florence Crittenton building was a big, old brick building. Dark. Cold. Always. Not the temperature, it was the atmosphere in that building…

I did only as they wished. As society expected of me. I made sure to let them all know that I wasn’t “one of those girls”. I really was a good girl, not a crack-whore. I really did love my baby, I really only wanted the best for him ~ It wasn’t at all that I didn’t want to be a mom, it wasn’t that I wanted to have a life full of fun instead of responsibility. I proved that I really did love my baby, loved him even more than I loved myself. I served my son up to the adoption industry on a golden dish…

What a good marionette I was, right in line being the good birthmother without any further convincing necessary. I already knew that there was no way I would raise a child in the way I was living. I knew that the only way I would be able to raise my child would be to move out of the house, and that would have been impossible on my own. I gave no thought towards the future, only to finishing what I had started by becoming pregnant while unmarried and young. No thought was given to what it would actually be like to give birth to my child, much less live without him. No thought was given to the fact that I couldn’t really ensure that my child would have a better life. No thought was given to what an adoptees life was like, how their life was affected by adoption. I was just following along with what was expected of me, like a marionette I lived…

I returned to school that fall unable to really be myself. I was sure that any classmates who knew of my pregnancy thought of me as either the classic whore or as a heartless person who gave her child away. I never breathed a word of my son to anyone afterwards, losing the freedom to be myself. Always fearful that someone would find out the truth. In addition, without even realizing it, my heart was locked up tight in order to not fully feel the loss of my son. How heavy was the weight of that prison I imposed on myself…

For our own freedom, our own call.
Now after so many years
I awoke to see that the power to live is
In you and in me.
We could be
Light as the air
With the wind through your hair

Free to move, here and there.
There and here, everywhere.
Now that we are no longer tied to the loom.
We can go from room to room.
We are Free at last,
no more strings of life to hold us down,
making us like clowns

In the moment of reading the first emails telling me that my son was looking for me, I awoke. I awoke from 30 years of denial and felt the power, the freedom, of living in my truth. I felt as light as air ~ the weight of that self-imposed prison was lifted. Once I had the chance to bask in the joy and treasure this new life that now included my first born son, I wanted to share the news with everyone. Christopher himself told me that I could go stand on the sandhills of Nebraska and yell the news out to the world. I was no longer tied to the loom that was labeled birthmother. The loom of shame. Shame that wasn’t mine to take on, but that I willingly accepted from the judgment of our society. The loom of despair and grief from the loss of my son ~ loss that I wasn’t even allowed to speak of. Loss that nobody in society sees, much less understands to have any empathy for. (Except for the others who live with the loss of adoption that is)

In talking to the search angel who matched our profiles, I felt as though I had beaten the system. Even though deep down I knew it wasn't true, the remnants of former beliefs were still there. I had believed the social worker when she told me it would be against the law to ever look for my son. Taking on that lie, it tied me further to the loom of adoption loss. Now here I was, being told by an angel named Kim that my son had been searching for me for a while, was very excited and waiting to finally hear from me. Just as I had been tied to the loom of adoption, so had he. In the finding, we were both freed from the looms, we were free to go from the room of secrecy into the room of truth.

The past is the in the past
None of that matter anymore
Yesterday is out the door
Let’s make the most of now
Since time doesn’t last

We made our own many mistakes
Sacrificed the best of ourselves at the stake
Yet we are free now to move every which way
To say what we want to say
no more strings of life to tie us down
making us look just  like clowns

Yes ~ the past is in the past. I can’t get back those lost years with Christopher. I made my mistakes. Many mistakes were made in the years after I lost Christopher to adoption. My biggest wish is that I had been strong enough to live my truth, instead of hiding from it.  For I wasn't really hiding from it.  It was always there, just under the surface, just out of reach of my conscious being.  I not only sacrificed my son, I sacrificed my authentic self. Being silent after the loss of my son to adoption only allowed the myths to continue. Being silent gave the impression that losing my son to adoption was ok. Being silent kept the tremendous loss and grief hidden. Did another mother go on to choose adoption because she saw that my life did seem to go on as before after losing my son to adoption? I will never know. But I do feel that I fed the adoption industry with my silence. The strings tying me down are gone, I am free now to speak of my experience. I am free to speak of the child, now a grown man, forever lost to adoption. There are no self or society imposed strings keeping me silent now. I speak out of the truth of adoption loss on my life. I speak out not because it can change anything for us ~ but maybe I can change something for another mother, for the children of that mother. I speak out now to help another living with the loss of adoption to free themselves from their own loom, to no longer be a marionette of the adoption industry.

We are as light as the air
With the wind through your hair
We have no more cares
That will hold us and keep us,
From ourselves,
like marionettes up on the shelves.

Oh you must believe me!
Oh can you see me?
Can you hear this song I sing?
It brings me here to you!

The strings of life have all disappeared
The strife we lived, sheared and blown away
We are free now to move every which way
To say what we want to say
no more strings of life to tie us down
lifting us high above the ground

We are free now to just be. The strings of adoption no longer control us as though we are only marionettes. I am his mother, he is my son. I love Christopher no less than the children I raised. The strings of adoption could take away my legal rights, but could never take away my love for him.

Oh come with me
And Fly! You will see
The music is playing, the choir is saying
We are Light as the air
The wind through your hair
Free to move, here and there.
There and here, everywhere.
With no more ties
Gone are The Strings of Life.


© 2012 Dabeshim

Thank you for sharing these beautiful, yet haunting, words Dabeshim. Thank you for allowing me to ramble on and write of how the words touched my heart.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Light Through The Darkness of Adoption Loss

Artwork from Ordinary Courage

I know I've been quiet lately.  I have been focusing on the good in my life, making brighter my "light from within".

I am so thankful for everyone and everything that has helped me find that light after being lost in the dark of adoption loss for so very, very long. 

The one who has made the biggest difference in my life at this stage is Christopher's mom.  I cannot put into words how much brighter my world became by meeting and being fully accepted by her. 

Lately in adopto-land there has been much written about adoptive parents keeping the natural mothers and families away from their children (infants to adults).  If they could only know, if only some would care, what a difference they could make in the loss and grief felt by those who lose loved-ones in adoption. 

A mother of adoption loss has no idea what life is actually going to be like without her child.  It should be expected that the moms are going to have a hard time, that she's going to be grieving.  That grief should not scare away the adoptive parents. 

I would hope that it would have them instead showing some compassion.  

I would hope that it would have the adoptive parents wanting to help ease the moms heart and mind.  Instead, I see so many cases where the adoptive family turns their back on the mother turning the blame back onto that mother.  They tell themselves and others that the mother wasn't "going on with her life" or some such crap.  They excuse away the true reasons they are uncomfortable in the face of the grief. 

By turning away from the mother (and father, siblings, extended family), they are only adding to the grief and loss.  Nothing will take away the grief, but many things will certainly add to it!  A letter, a note, some photos and/or videos, promised visits can go so far in helping a mother cope with the grief and loss of a child to adoption.  Keeping communication open will help her find acceptance and help her see that her child has loving parents who only want the best for the child.

One of my on-line friends has been shut out of her child's life.  The adoptive parents have pulled far away from the open adoption that was promised.  Leaving a mother, father, and sibling heart-broken.  Yes, the adoptive familiy would have to face the grief of this left-behind family ~ but in facing the grief they could relieve a lot of it too.  I just can't imagine being the kind of person who couldn't open my heart to help another out of their grief.  A small act by the adoptive family could have an enormous effect on the family left behind.  How can they deny that?  I will never understand. 

Not only is an adoptive family hurting the natural family left behind, they are hurting the very child they claim to love. 

The denial of adoptive parents does not take away the importance of or the need of those adopted to know their first chapter.  It only builds upon the loss and makes it even greater. 

If you have adopted or are planning on adopting and 
won't understand and honor the place of the 
natural family in your child's life ~ then please don't adopt. 

It's pretty simple really.  I don't understand what is so hard about it.  A child doesn't just appear out of nowhere.  A child is born to a mother, created by that mother and a father.  The story behind the conception and/or birth doesn't matter ~ the story doesn't change the simple fact that a child is born to two people and their families (past, present, and future). 

A child being given up for adoption and adopted by another family doesn't take away their first, biological, natural family ~ it only adds more family. 

If you have or are planning on adopting and you can't accept the fact that your child has another family, then you aren't offering your child unconditional love.  You are putting conditions on their very existence. 

As adoptive parents, you have the ability to make the choice for adoption either bearable or something that breaks a person.  

I am so very happy and thankful that Christopher got a mother and father who adopted out of love.  They never denied their daughter and son their beginnings.  They never denied my relationship with our son.  I was accepted into open arms and with a loving heart.  By openly accepting me as a part of their son's life, they have showed me love.  Love that allowed the light within me to grow stronger. 

The light of their love and acceptance of me shines brightly 
through the darkness of the loss of my son to adoption.  

I wish all mothers of adoption loss could know that love and acceptance. 

I wish that all adoptive parents would act out of love and not fear.  
For their own sake, for the natural families and for their adopted loved ones.