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...



  1. Good observation by LoLokey on how Christoher gave your rules/appropriate reunion behavior guidelines. Indeed it is possible that wall was put there by him and you maintain it for him. Lord knows I do. My daughter said go away, you dont matter, and I have been very dutifully doing that. I often worry that if she ever changed her mind in the future, could I come back? After spending so many years conditioning myself to do what she told me, could I suddenly turn the other cheek?

    Also, in my experience, very true what Linda said about taking the child we gave up for adoptino out of the reunion equation. My child that exists today is not the child she was at three days old OR the child she would have been if she was parented by me. Moreover, she is not the child the agency told me she would be as a result of adoption. They told me she would be happy, welcoming, open, friendly, told about her adoption, helped with her adoption, kind and more. She may be those things (I dont know). I do know that she is not those things to ME and they told me she would be. So, it is a daily process of reconciliations. Reconciling the lies with the truths and the lies with the unknowns. One thing is for certain she is not the baby I gave up for adoption in any way. My child, yes but not that chlid, not the child I dreamed of or the adult they told me she would become.

    As for the emotions, I talked with other moms about this at a local support group last month. For me, personally, I keep those emotions under tight wraps because a) there are few people who truly understand them and care care for me when I express them and b) 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. 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.

  2. P.S. I am glad there is no guidebook. Adoption itself is proclaimed to be a one size fits all approach. Mothers are interchangeable. Take this one out, put this one in, follow these rules. I despise that. We are NOT all the same. We are human beings with different needs, values, experiences, emotions. I fear a guide book would be another adoption template that would obliterate the uniqueness of each mother, each child. We are not all the same therefore we cannot the same rules. In addition, as hard as it is, there is a great deal of self growth from following your own path versus the road rules some one else set out.

    You can give up your baby, find them later, read this book and VOILA its all better. No. We dont work that way. Humans are too complex to be templatized.

    At least I hope we are.

  3. (((HUGS))) No, you are not mental. You are NORMAL!! All this keeping a lid on our emotions, managing them so they don't manage us, is normal behavior for people that have experienced trauma. Well, it's normal for people that have experienced a major trauma and for years have been treated like it was just a blip on our life screens that should've been easily gotten over. I wish I had an answer for all of us. Maybe instead of a guide book, we need a magic wand :-/

  4. Suz, This (and the story behind it) ~

    "One thing is for certain she is not the baby I gave up for adoption in any way. My child, yes but not that chlid, not the child I dreamed of or the adult they told me she would become"

    ~ is so heartbreaking. I am so very sorry that this is so, for you and for all the mothers who find this to be their truth also.

  5. I find it heartbreaking only because I am not permitted to know the person she did become.

  6. It's heatbreaking either way. My daughter found me and I have been permitted to know a small part of the person she is today. I'm so grateful and she is a kind, loving woman. But the heartbreak of loosing the baby is still ever present. Meeting and knowing the woman does nothing to calm the screaming in my head. It's been two years since I got the first letter and the fog was lifted. I cry silent tears every day. I don't cry our lous much . I don't have time! And I understand the thought that if I really let myself go I could loose that hold on reality that I have.
    (For some reason I'm not allowed to leave the message with my google account. Frustrating. Barbara Thavis)