Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How do the adoptive parents make you feel?

As a mother who placed, how do the adoptive parents make you feel?

This question was asked on a forum I belong to recently.  Normally I ignore most of the adoption questions there, but for some reason this one keeps coming back to me.  When an idea or thought gets stuck in my head, it usually means it is something that I need to deal with for some reason.

One of the reasons I started to write and blog about my adoption story was because I was having such a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into words.  I often felt like I just had a bunch of random words and bits of thoughts swirling like a tornado in my brain.  When I would try to put them into a cohesive thought or sentence, I couldn't.  It's like I had spent so many years, decades, hiding from the thoughts and feelings about my son and his adoption, it became all but impossible to finally face them and put words to them.   This blog has helped me with that so much.  It helped me to come fully out of the fog and finally know and accept the effects of adoption loss on my life.  I finally put an end to the constant tornado.

I had all but forgotten that feeling of the swirling thoughts that wouldn't settle down no matter how hard I tried.  Trying to put thoughts or words together to describe how Christopher's parents make me feel have brought it right back.  I am going to attempt to answer that question, hoping that by writing it out I will figure it out.

The very first and most simple thought/feeling that comes to mind when thinking about them is gratefulness.  It seems... wrong somehow?  to want to express my thanks to them for being wonderful parents to Christopher though.  I don't know why it feels wrong, but it does.  Maybe because of the hurt I felt when I read his mothers words of thanks to me for my "selfless decision".  The thanks were meant completely out of love and gratefulness, and I did read them as loving words, but it later felt like a kick in the stomach, a "thanks for living with life-long grief and loss that is unimaginable by anyone who has not lived the life of a mother without her child".  Maybe I feel ambivalent about saying that I feel grateful to his parents because to them it could be seen as hurtful, not with the love that I mean it in; but since I am not an adoptive parent I don't realize how those words could be perceived as hurtful.  (Those were some rambling sentences ~ I hope that they make at least a little sense!)

So.  Overall, how do Christopher's parents make me feel?  ... Confused?  Intrusive?  Sad?  I guess that since I have no idea how they feel about me, about me being in their son's life, it just leaves me wondering. 

After I gave Christopher up, I often fantasized that I was somehow able to write to his mom.  I used to actually write the letters, but had nowhere to mail them to.  I imagined that I was able to become pen-pals of sorts with her.  I dreamed that I was able to KNOW, not hope, how he was doing as he grew up.   I was able to learn the funny things he said and did as he was growing up.  I got to read about when he started to walk and talk, ride a bike, start school...  I was able to learn how her life was changed as a mother to a son.  I was able to see photos of him, of them, as Christopher grew up so I could stop looking at every little boy his age and wonder if it could have been him.  I wanted her to know how my life was going too.  I wanted her to know the milestones that happened in my life.  I guess I mostly hoped that she cared how I was doing.  I felt a bond of sorts between us ~ two mothers with a deep and profound love for the same child.  I still feel that bond, even though we have never met, even though we have never become the "pen-pals" that I dreamed of.

I guess how his parents make me feel is wanting.  Wanting to know them, wanting to act on that bond I feel with his mother.  Wanting to be a part of their family and for them to be a part of mine.  Wanting to have a relationship in real-life, not just in my heart.




  1. Very interesting. A perspective I had never considered.

    I am grateful that I at least know what my daughter looks like and I get to see pictures of her as she develops.

    But I wish her mother wanted to know more about me too. I also want a relationship like you speak of, where we both can love the same child and love each other too because we share that bond.

  2. To my son's family I ceased to exist the day he was adopted 40+ years ago. Needless to say they are making everyone's life a holy hell.

    My son and I both came into reunion with open arms and minds. I welcomed the family that raised him. Needless to say that fleeting feeling has past us by because of their behavior!

    Once I would have been subservient to their feelings but now I lay quietly in wait until I will crush them. And I will. Because of their behavior they are alienaitng my son and his sfamily.

    Trust me, no one who knows me would ever imagine I could think this way but the loss of my child to adoption has made me a survivalist, and I promise that I will win in the end.

  3. "the loss of my child to adoption has made me a survivalist, and I promise that I will win in the end."

    I like this, very much! My sentiments exactly!!

  4. What you describe is how I use to feel in the beginning of my journey with adoption. I use to have these grand ideas that since I had an "open adoption" that my adoption would work and that I could actually live with my decision better. I honestly think open adoption is much harder because it is so "in your face"...The visits are a reminder of who you are in relation to that child and "where your place is." It's hard to have a real relationship with your child as you are very aware of the parents looming in and watching your every move, waiting for an excuse to yank your child away. There's this feeling of not wanting to step on anybody's toes but also of wanting to hold that child close to you and show them how much you truly love them. It's honestly very ridiculous and almost always doomed for failure.

    I too, use to want to know everything about my son's parents. Now however, I have no desire to know anything else further about them. I'm never really allowed to get to see the "real them" as we use to do this little dance of discomfort. There's always been holding back on both of our parts; that imaginary wall of "this is my space and you're not allowed to cross it." What I do know of them(which is very little) has turned me off completely. I just hope that against all odds, my son turns out to be nothing like them...I can still dream can't I? No one said dreams have to be rational now did they?

  5. etropic ~ yes, you can still dream. And hold onto the hope that nature trumps nurture for your son too!

  6. Hello Susie, I'm a Swedish Korean adoptee. Your blog is interesting and wellwritten... I wonder if I might add your blog to my blogroll?

  7. Sorry it took me so long to answer Elle! I would be honored to be added to your blogroll.