Thursday, August 31, 2006

OK. Time for a real UPdate -- current. Joy is a joy to me. That we are in reunion is as perfect as it gets in this life. The most marvelous thing is that it all keeps changing. My favorite season is that they change. Thank God! I change. You change. Watch how that happens. And keep moving on...
Blogging is teaching me to keep listening to my heart. Reunion is teaching me to listen to my heart, to look for the loving action in each moment, taking in new information, others points of view. Resist not evil.

Holding onto self judgments in fear is resistance. So far my experience is that stirring through my fears and secrets has not been pretty, but it makes for change, movement. And that's so much better than being stuck holding onto my poor pathetic fears.

Right now I'm listening to People Will Be People by Irma Thomas. I wish I knew how to add music to my page. "Right or wrong, Mr. or Ms, you know the long and the short of it is, people will be people."

So something new. I talked about my feelings with (spouse). He listened. He offered to listen longer than I wanted to talk. It was awesome, going through this stuff and just going on. And thanks to Suz I sent him the website she mentioned a little while ago. Benevolent Society, Post Adoption Resource Center, PARC. (OK I don't know anything about posting links but that will help you find it, if you're persistant, I think) Anyway, all he said about it was, oh ok. For weeks I've been sitting in front of the computer till I'm stiff and when I show my face again, he asks how I'm doing. Or shares something that's going on with him. Yeah, he's another fallible man. He's a good man too.

Funny thing is the more accepting I am of any one of us, the more accepting I am of all the rest. It starts with accepting myself. Joy and I are doing quite well. We definitely have our ups and downs. It's a mother/daughter thing, with extenuating circumstances you know. But the truth is, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... We're both hypersensitive sometimes. We're both loving. We're both strong. We surprise ourselves and each other. We don't have the blessing of having gone through the teen years together in the usual sequence. Things are all balled up crazily and inappropriately. My other daughter had the opportunity to scream I hate you and storm off, only to show up ten minutes later for a hug. As I watched Ezzy grow into herself it helped me understand Joy better. And myself. We're all a part of each other inside me.

That may begin to express what I want to say. My life is good. I love Joy. Joy loves me. That may not be obvious sometimes, but it is our basis. I just want to spell it out for anyone that might be wondering.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Losing fear

I'm still figuring out how it is. In a way I have her back now. When she first called me I shook while talking to her. That lasted most of the next 13-14 years. And a lot of that time I had a fear of losing her again. I wasn't prepared to meet her needs. I expected her to have had a happy fulfilled doted on childhood.

I thought of my adopted cousin, an only child and doted on by his adopted parents and his (our) grandparents in Michigan. He seemed happy enough to be in the family he was raised in. My brother and I were very aware that he was completely different than the rest of the family, foreign. By not talking about it we convinced ourselves that he was unaware of it. I felt like we were wrong for noticing. And I thought my aunt and uncle were remarkably accepting and tolerant about the differences. I didn't realize the loss involved in the adoptive parents regarding their infertility. I blocked out the loss my cousin had experienced in being taken from his first family.

Anyway it wasn't what I had expected. She was not happy and hadn't been for a long time. The weird thing was we both went back to the state we were in when we'd parted. I was a teenage emotional betrayed grieving "mom" and she was an abandoned infant emotionally. There were now seventeen intervening years and family members that had needs, complications. I had thought finding each other would be only good. I would love her and she would feel loved. Not that simple.

The way the fear of loss seems to have motivated me is still being revealed. I was afraid of losing her again and tried to fulfill her needs to prevent that. I felt horrible that I was unable to do that, that I was failing her. I was equally fearful of endangering my marriage and B&G in any way. And I wanted to protect my parents who were trying to protect me. I felt that I didn't have any right to be her mother. When I signed the adoption papers, I believed I was freeing her from me, from failure, from disgrace. I wanted her life to be good. When she found me I was torn between desire and feeling unworthy. No right to contact with her, no right to disturb my  husband or raised children with my desire and confusion. And then out of her grief she was asking me how I could be so cold as to give my own flesh and blood away. Pretty messy. I was withholding myself from my spouse because I didn't have the right to be so fucked up. I withheld myself from Joy because I wanted to hold myself "together". I withheld B&G from their elder sister because it would be messy. All this time it was chewing inside me.

About 18+ months ago I just let go and said forget it. I'm not going to keep trying to be a good mother to her. I quit trying to fix her or myself. Things have been steadily improving. I recently considered that maybe what she really wants is me, the way I am, not the way I think I should be for her. I mean she'd probably like an upgraded version, but what-who I am, her mother, is what's most important. Acceptance. So she can stop trying to be a good adoptee too.

There's always been a kind of melting happiness in knowing her, talking to her, hearing her voice. Her sense of humor and wit and intelligence scare me when I try to live up to my fantasy, to be the mom I think she deserves. And the part of her that reminds me of her father is still a bit raw. But she is part of my life now and I love that. So the grief part is different. I'd like to integrate her into my family, to spend time together, for her brother and sister to get to know her. But the years of hesitation on my part, the lingering fears, have created a gulf that others have less interest in bridging. It's weird. Another thing I feel is my “fault”. I've got a lot more to learn here obviously.

A lot of my behavior around the issues has been unconscious. I just couldn't face the conflicts for fear of losing anything more.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Still getting over the self consciousness, what if somebody sees me. I keep reminding myself that no one really knows who I am, except Joy. And I don't want to hide myself from her. So it's ok. It was a shock to see a picture of her father today. I'm only partially settled with him. A part of me is still raging. He used to call me on her birthday, for about 4-5 years, till I told him to stop. We had nothing else to do with each other. I just couldn't slip into a sweet sad reminisce with him. There was too much anger and anguish in me.

Back to my previous story. The plan I came up with was to wait until she was 12 years old. That seemed like an appropriate age. And I would contact the adoption agency, tell them to let her know, or her parents know, that I was available, if she ever needed me for anything. In the meantime I got interested in trying to heal the earth, children in general. And trying to figure out how to have, when to have children I could keep. I got married. Coincidentally (?) my second born arrived months before Joy's 12 birthday. I was completely involved with my baby boy. I didn't even leave the house for three weeks. I didn't leave his side for six months. I didn't do anything that I sensed could in any way jeopardize my connection with him. It was a rare person that had the audacity to ask to hold him. They were lucky to be able to watch me hold him.

I forgot about contacting the adoption agency. It was too risky. This is where I anticipate the rush of hate mail and being castigated. Maybe stoning. I abandoned her again. I chickened out. I did it over and over, trying to protect what I had. Avoiding the pain.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

my first

Where to start? With all of me, shifting nervousness to excitement, moving towards freedom, to be who I am and express that for no other reason than I am. Exhilarating.

Hello. I am Such a Joy's first mom. Mom is a short, abbreviated word. It feels impersonal. I am Such a Joy's. She is my daughter. I can say that and feel like I'm really being heard here.

Heard invisibly, but heard. I started out telling everyone that would listen about the baby girl I gave away. And no one knew anything to say that would help me. I didn't feel shame at first, just grief. Gradually the "You did the best thing". "It was the right thing." "You did what was best for the baby. That's very brave." comments got the point across that everyone else was just as helpless as I was and it would be nicer if I would just "get on with my life". Funny to think now, that I never even tried to talk to my parents about my feelings. I never had talked to them about feelings. It's just recently that I began to imagine that they were in pain (and denial too) doing "the right thing" for their child. At the time I didn't even know my father had feelings.

Two weeks after her birth I went to the agency to sign the papers. I insisted on holding her first. It was the most heavenly experience I could imagine. She was perfect. I'd asked my mom to take pictures of her. They got a new polaroid camera, so they wouldn't have to take the film to be developed and no one else would know. They were trying to protect me, as if other people's judgment of me was the worst that could happen. All the pictures showed the back of my head, long brown hair, looking down at the precious little baby in a pink sleep suit. No one else would know who we were. My mom said we were together for about 30 minutes. It seemed more like 5, but time was suspended. Then I went into the office and cried and signed papers.

I gave one of the best pictures to her father. He put it up with a thumb tack. I went to a party and he was there with his new, younger, slimmer girl friend. Trying to take comfort from a puppy, my milk let down.

I remember the first time I woke up and realized that I didn't have any choice but to "get on with my life", meaning I'd better get up out of this depression and go do something, because waiting for things to get better wasn't working. She was only about 6 weeks old then. My fantasies about driving to her adoptive home and taking her away were thwarted by not having a car or a place to take her.

Seventeen years later she called me on the phone. I had a five year old and an eight year old. The closest thing to maternal I could do was pray that they wouldn't be afraid I could give them away too. I was caught up in my own pain and the accretions from burying it. I scared myself. How could I tell my children I had given my first one away? They came from a mother that had been rejected by society and had then brought them into that same society. Putting that into words threatens my equilibrium.

I botched it up pretty good. I told the kids while we were in the car. They didn't ask any questions. My husband was bewildered by my sudden lability. . Dealing with my parents was more than he'd bargained for and he was not comfortable with this expanding well of confusion I was magnetically attracted to. I couldn't explain my desire. He knew the dry facts of the adoption, but not about the reverberating reality. The kids are 21 and 24 now and don't express interest in Joy and me. Reunion has been very much on my own. I feel like I'm starting to come out of the woods, to find my balance with this loss and reunion.

Reading these posts and Journey of the Adopted Self has been very healing and expanding. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the journey, knowing it involves some looking back as well.