Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Self Expression

I've been intending to make a new blog but mostly just caught up in the exciting world of the AAAC forum.

This here is my own little creation. My story telling place. I love to be heard, to express myself. Blogging is valuable because it allows me to say exactly what I think I want to say. Even if it's only for me. But sending my words out to the internet, the public eye is a sweet challenge too. It's such a freeing feeling to choose to say exactly what I want to say to people I don't know; so they can read me, respond to me, judge me. So I can see how this works. How do my words affect others? Do I make a difference to anyone? Is it good? Is it hurtful? I want to know.

I do it mostly because it's valuable for me. The process of expressing instead of holding/withholding is very expansive, like breaking bonds and restrictions on my breathing and on my awareness. If you want to read more of my stories you can find them at http://jmomma.wordpress.com/

Thursday, May 10, 2007


this just seemed really appropriate right now


It brought to the surface more complications in my story --

She says more than I can.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I actually wrote this 2 weeks ago but I couldn't make blogger work then...

Today I feel like a snake, shedding skin.

*Not a cold and unfeeling reptile. I actually rather like the sinuous feeling of handling live snakes – ehh—ok*

But expanding and quite vulnerable. Eying life anew.

Discarding another layer that is no longer necessary, a skin that once protected me and allowed me to move forward has outlived it’s usefulness.

I’ve been challenged again by my gorgeous human daughter.

Every relationship I have is colored by my sense of myself, which is colored by adoption.
So many judgments. I read and sort and forgive and grow and repeat.

So many layers of judgment.

So many attempts to disguise myself.
Oh, I’m really ok.
And slither off under a rock.

And shed.
And look at life with fresh eyes.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Danger -- Construction zone. Enter at your own risk.

Hey did you see I have a link?!! to my firstborn, Joy.

Every little bit of integrating her into my life brings more of me into my picture. I have three children. The youngest was born 14 1/2 years after the first. They are sisters, though they hardly know each other.

My beginnings in motherhood were tragic. A year before I became pregnant with Joy, I miscarried. I didn't even know the word miscarriage before then. The OB/GYN congratulated me on escaping a tragic pregnancy. I grieved my loss, despite being 16 with no idea how I could have prevailed with a baby.

Later, losing my baby to adoption was the greatest pain I've ever known. Abortion wasn't an option for me, even if it had been legal. I've never been anti abortion. I just couldn't imagine it personally at that time. Looking back, it seems like motherhood was aborted.

And then I got married and had two lovely children. Having a "lost" child was my separate reality.

I couldn't speak of it. I couldn't accept it, integrate it into my happy family. It would have been tragic, but acceptable to have lost a child through death. Everyone knows that.

Something connected to all the praise and approval I got for my two lovely children and my happy family shifted the pain of adoption loss i guilt anto guilt and shame. It was too gruesome to explain.

I had two separate motherhoods. One was tragic and aborted. The second was nourishing and growing.

Reunion. For a long time it just meant reunion with my daughter. Getting to know each other. Getting to know myself. Gradually learning to accept, own, claim ourselves as family. Reaching out to other family members, going more public, inch by inch.

I'm beginning to know the richness of reunion inside me, of knowing I have three children. No, it didn't start out that way, inside me. But my two motherhoods are uniting, through Joy's and my reunion. It's becoming one, integrated within me.

Accepting that though I wanted to be her mother, to raise her--I didn't get to; She has other family  has been confusing to me too. How, what, where do we fit together? How do we accept our own and each others' disappointment, most especially Joy's loss as an abandoned baby?

Though I loved her every day of her life; physcially I wasn't there. Her life connection into this physical world was lost. She had to make it on her own through the maze of adoptive family rites.

My dream of her happy family didn't make a lovely happy easy life for her.

My aborted motherhood was a tragedy we both had to survive as well.

What this post is really about is that we are surviving it all. We are integrating ourselves in each others lives and expanding and growing independently and together. Bit by bit.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Just now I want to reach out and be able to touch her. I want her closer. I want it to be simple and common to reach her. I want her to see me, her mother. I want to be there.

I want to have strength, to stand in my heart no matter what comes my way. I want to watch my feelings, to own them, learn from them but not be ruled by them.

I want to take every thing that comes my way as a blessing, of learning, expansion and growth.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Asking, listening, receiving and expressing. Those four steps are my method of learning and growing. Communicating with myself, with God, with you.

I remember holding thoughts and feelings inside, afraid to share them, thinking they were mine, thinking I could be crucified for making an error in consciousness if I let them out where you could see them. I was stuck in self protection.

I've discovered expressing these things allows me to see them more objectively and I experience myself expand, move, change. It makes more room inside. The kaleidoscope of my awareness expands.

An imaginary banner posted on the side of my imaginary bus reads,

"Whatever you think It's more than that, more than that"

--from Job's tears by Robin Williamson.

This is all prelude to revealing what I learned from my last post, the part about rude questions.

The "What kind of person..." was all wrong.

We're all the same kind of person.

We're all

I want connections, inside and outside. We're all in this together whether we know it or not.

I want to ask "What's going on when a person makes their desire for a baby more important than the baby's desire for it's mother?" What are we doing?
Lets go for a drive.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Helter Skelter

Will you, won't you tell me the answer?

No. I have to figure it out myself.

Asking is something I'm learning. From my father I learned to ask challenging and direct questions. At 22 my best friend asked "Why are you always trying to prove yourself?"
I learned from my dad that I better be able to defend anything I had to say or not say it. When push came to shove I tended to leave or challenge. He abhorred "just getting along".

For years I wrestled with the question: "What kind of person gives her child up for adoption?" Last year I awakened in blogland to the twist, "What kind of person takes another mother's baby?"

It's evolved to, "What kind of person makes their desire for a baby more important than that baby's desire for it's mother?"

But, IRL I don't bring up these questions that roll around in my head. They are challenging. They are rude. I don't want to expose my vulnerability of being the mother that lost her baby in that context.

They point out a habit of being ornery, of asking questions that put others on the defensive. Questing for answers, proof.

REquesting, asking for information, inquiring is a habit I would like to cultivate. Can my interest and caring go beyond self protection?

That is what I am
asking the universe for right now. Please help me to trust myself enough to ask without defense. To remember that we are all doing the best we can with what we know right now.

"Right and wrong
Right and wrong
Never helped us get along"
-Tenderness by Paul Simon

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dear Grandson,

This is my first imaginary letter to TomTom. Now that I've written it, I want to write a completely different letter, a real one.

Hi _______,

Your mom tells wonderful stories about you. She's a good story teller and she thinks you're marvelous. For a long time I held back, knowing you have quite a few grandparents. You're their only grandchild.

I held back, wanting to get right with your mom first. She and I had a lot of hard times trying to get to know and accept each other, as you know. The old saying "Time heals all wounds" plays in here. It took a lot of time & work for her and I to get this far.

We're each doing the best we can here. I wish I could have known you better before. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. I want to be your friend. I'm coming to visit for her birthday. I hope to see you then too.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Another fill in for the gaps.

Nearly the same time my family discovered I was pregnant, another close family found itself in a similar situation. D. was told to make an adoption plan or get out also. Here her situation had a significant change. She was caught by her boyfriend and his mother. I visited her once at their house. It was crowded and difficult. It was awkward. It was so far beyond me.

My family said, "See how awful it is. How awful it will be."

It was just different.

D. gave birth to her baby girl. I only heard about her occasionally because I avoided my family pretty much. As time went by that baby girl became an especially valued member of her family. D's parents adored her and were terrifically grateful for her.

I don't know. Maybe D's baby worked as hard as an adoptee to please and heal her family. I heard she was a unifying force for the family. I wonder how it was for my folks, to watch how their friends healed over the rejection of their granddaughter. What was it like to know their friends had been able to love and watch that baby grow, when my folks first met their granddaughter?


Right after my baby was born I was accepted back into my parents home and waited to die.

I never had a "plan". I thought it would just be the natural course of events. About six weeks later I started thinking about venturing out into the world.

Other unfortunate events led to a referral from my counselor to volunteer at the local facility for psychotic children.

I had a lot of love that needed an appropriate outlet. Psychotic children were perfect. We really connected. I started with a little towhead that I was supposed to reward with M&Ms for doing math problems. But what he really liked was being taken outside the ward for walks. I fantasized adopting him.

There was a little "voluntarily mute" girl whose mother had disciplined her by holding her head under water. She only spoke to herself when she was alone. Her hair was shorn because she used to stick food in it.

An eight year old boy that threw a twin size mattress across his room when he was upset about I know not what.

A twelve year old boy that had set his parents house on fire and frequently reached for my breasts.

A four year old boy that had been institutionalized at three. He quietly spread his feces on his walls and floor.

Those are the ones I remember. In the afternoon we took them to parks and played. I felt very much at home. I was loved and appreciated that summer.

In the fall, a man from "group therapy", took me in, helped me start school, gave me a car.

After 4 months I drove to Idaho to take up with other misfits, trying to escape the "system" and testing it's safety nets. Processing grief and abandonment. Rejecting society, blaming it, for my guilt. Like the world shouldn't be such a crappy place to live. I was looking for a better place, a better world.

Looking for love in all the wrong places as a war between my ideals and reality was going on inside.

Another series of events conspired to bring me to a safe space, an alternate reality. My initial suspicion of my spiritual teacher held him at bay for a couple years. At which point my self doubt held the process off for another 3 or 4 years. One day I realized that the reason I kept coming back was the loving. The quality of loving was the best I'd ever found. There was room for all my imperfection. But it's still up to me to bring myself forward, to confront my guilt and to forgive myself.

For years into reunion, certain words, like abandoned, had me running scared. It was so easy to turn the knife of guilt and shame on myself. I've been learning to breathe, and watch the ocean of emotions flow through me. I endure. I am greater than my emotions.

I feel like an old growth redwood. They can get burned out. Hollowed. They keep growing. The charcoal side can be curled over with soft red bark. Slowly. If they fall over, they may still sprout from the ground. Sometimes a circle of young trees comes up where the mother tree had been.
(http://magickcanoe.com/blog/2006/11/23/in-the-redwoods-part-two/ for some good pictures)

I am.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Embracing the Dark Side

I started blogging over six months ago. It's been cathartic. I think that's the word. Learning from fellow bloggers I've learned about me and to watch what goes on inside more carefully. I feel both more whole and more aware of areas of my self that are retarded.

Accepting my mistakes and limitations is one of my constant themes. Learning to express my self is an important step in learning to be myself. This is my classroom.

Letting go of expectations of myself and of you. Letting go of what I think should be. I am settling in to what is.

Letting go of my flights of fancy-- that I can/should/might make things "right".

I'm going to a wonderful spiritual retreat again this weekend. Perhaps I'll embrace a little more of embraceable me, making more room for embraceable you.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Before Blogland

Reflecting on two things: 1) what Joy said about our relationship improving all the time and 2)how I depended on her so much through our reunioning which I referred to in my last post.

I had one opportunity to talk to another mother about ten years ago, but I froze like a deer in the headlights.

It happened while attending a workshop focused on healing and attuning to Spirit.

What came up for me at that time was judgment I'd held against myself for my relationship with Joy's father and getting pregnant by him. I'd been refused birth control by a private OB/GYN and by Planned Parenthood because I was under age. What was I thinking? Didn't I know where I was headed?

Not entirely. I had premonitions. But I didn't see options back then.

It's easy to look back and see how I allowed myself to go into the situation for several reasons. I got some affection, some love, some comfort and a whole lot of pain. Ok.

So that's what I did, but it's not who I am. I came to the end of the workshop with a sense of relief and increased openness towards myself. As we were saying our goodbyes, a woman approached me to say she had also lost a child to adoption and offered me her card in case I ever wanted to talk.

I was shocked. I took her card. I kept her card through a couple of moves. I never contacted her. I threw the card away when so much time had passed I didn't think she'd remember me if I did figure out how to say hello.

Now I am asking myself why was I so blocked that I couldn't take this woman's offering of understanding and compassion? Why did I cling to the illusion that I should (I'm thinking of you Suz) handle this "on my own"?

Why am I still asking myself this question? I may hate "whys" almost as much as I hate "shoulds".

But there may be value in the why was I so blocked. Not really in the why, but what is/was that block? And how do I get it out of me? Can I relax and let myself be?

It almost seems like a big boxed refrigerator sitting inside me. Big, hard and cold. I wasn't supposed to feel grief. Time had passed. I had made a successful life. Everyone thought I was "fine". And I was so afraid to contaminate my precious children with all that stored waste. It wasn't me that had suffered anyway. I just gave my child away for adoption. I had two more children now. How could I be so selfish as to be upset about my loss of my firstborn? I wasn't deserving of her.

At least I had provided a deserving family with a healthy white infant. And Joy was certainly better off not having been held down by my inabilities. Now I did have a sense that perhaps my daughter would have benefitted from knowing something of me, just because she was likely somewhat like me. But I felt I was screwing that up too. I hadn't even owned the word reunion yet. I said we were in contact.

About 5 or 6 years ago, Joy said something about how she and I could help each other because we were the only ones that knew what was going on with us. We could talk to each other about the things no one else wanted to hear about. I opened up to some grief that scared me. It's been crazy at times. But I think we've come through a lot. Accepting her pain and mine has been my greatest challenge.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Balancing Act

Struggling to accept myself, my actions and my situation. I am doing so much better. And as Joy reminded me recently, I am always doing the best I can given what I know at the time.

Aren't we all?

But I screwed up again! After reading (and listening to) Kim's repeated and beautiful explanations of how reunion needs to be about the adoptee, I fell off the wagon again. I went into blaming myself and feeling shameful and victimized. Then when she's picking me up and dusting me off again, I just have to go and shoot for more of what I want.

God bless me. I am shoveling the manure and I will find the pony here.

Cue Van Morrison singing "When will I ever learn to live in God? When will I ever learn?"

The good news about me sticking my foot in my mouth is that I have a bit more understanding of what she is dealing with. Not only is she balancing her son and ex husband, me and my family, her adopted family and her first father and his family. She is also considering her adopted sibling's first family. She wants to be sure she doesn't do anything to jeopardize their relationship.

I'm getting a clearer picture of what she means by providing excellent customer service. I needed to know that.

But I wonder how much she needs it. How did she come to be the master fixer upper of these intersecting fates?

It reminds me of the competitions over who has it the hardest, first moms, adoptees, whoever. Maybe it varies depending on the particular situation. But right now I feel it has to go to the adoptee.

I feel so blessed to have her in my life.

"And up on the hillside its quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and the valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First Meet

I never did talk with my parents about adoption. Sometime during my eighth month I agreed to it. I said ok. I gave in. Other people told me why I should, counselors, social workers, ministers, my boyfriend and my parents. I shut up.

When I told my folks that Joy had contacted me and I was going to meet her, they asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that. I said yes. Everyone was surprised because I'd held it all inside of me for so long. I never shared what I felt. There had been no reason to share. It was all pain and helplessness. There was nothing anyone else could or would do because everyone else thought adoption was the "right thing to do".

All the lies of the adoption machine were still in place in everyone else's heads. Actually they were very active in my head as well. But my head and my heart were on different programs.

My memories are all jumbled now. I think Joy and I had been in contact about three months when I had the opportunity to return to the west coast for my grandfather's memorial service. She suggested we meet in a coffee shop.

It's funny to look back and remember worrying about how I looked. I wanted her to be favorably impressed -- attracted to me. I don't think I ever was more careful about how I looked, even though I was only wearing (pink)shorts and a (white)sweater. I think. I just remember looking in the mirror and worrying before I left. I wanted to look like me, but better.

I found the coffeeshop and recognized I'd seen the building before but never been in it. Did we meet in the parking lot?

I just remember she felt nervous to me. We both seemed apprehensive. I remember sitting across from her, looking straight at her. Her brow ridge looked like her father's. And just like she had told me on the phone; she had blue eyes to my brown.

I don't remember what we said. It was surreal. We'd lived just minutes from each other, but in different realms. Now we were in contact and I lived 2000 miles away. I was again rebelliously taking off from my parent's home, this time to see my child who was now a mother herself.

She had a whole life that was foreign to me. I felt like an invader, afraid to claim her, waiting for her cues. On the phone she had told me she wasn't angry. And she wasn't looking for a mother. She already had one. She told me she lied a lot.

At this first meeting I probably didn't say much, like usual. I was at such a loss.

I didn't want to scare her off. I believed all those lies about her wonderful chosen baby status. None of it made sense though. I had a lot to lose and I wanted to say the right thing. We were on storm tossed seas.

It was a brief and odd meeting. I'm glad we met. Next one will be better. OXOXOXOOOOO

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Mostly I've been sick for the past five days. I've been sick a lot this year. Several people have noticed my usual chipper self has been in the shop.

Seldom feeling ill has allowed me a luxury of enjoying the down time. That's caught up to me so that I'm wondering why I've needed so much down time lately-- To experience letting go, being "out of control"-- Learning to cooperate.

The one thing that's hung over me is have I dropped my end of the game in my electronic relationship with my baby? I had so much rolling around my head a few days ago. But I don't remember what it was.

I've luxuriated in being fussed over by my sweetie. And when I feel particularly spunky I get up and read blogs. But not too much. He's out doing the shopping now and I said I was going to saute some mushrooms to go with the leftovers...

But I just wanted to say hello first.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Well that last post had a lot of repercussions for me, to get out of the past, the uncovering, and move into what can I do now? How can I expand our relationship now?

Many years have gone by since what I last wrote about. My husband and I are moving forward integrating Joy's and my relationship. I talk about my feelings with him more, although I'm still a little guarded and protective. That's an area of responsibility that I am expanding in. I talk to Buster and Ezzy about Joy as much as they seem comfortable with, sometimes pushing their comfort zones. I got on My Space so they would have access to each other by being my "friends". The only other blood relative is my brother and for reasons beyond my current understanding he and I hardly see each other. I can't really include his kids at this point.

Reading many other people's blogs has helped me open up and claim my own reality and encouraged me to share it with Joy and everyone else in my life. Sometimes I am quite clumsy about it.

Sometimes my sensitivity seems to be limited to my feelings. Maybe more rather than less often that's been the case. I still hold out hope for me and my maturational process.

I am hoping to see Joy in April. I'll probaby go somewhere near where she lives. I don't know her preference yet and I want to do whatever she prefers, to the best of my ability.

I guess I just want any input anyone has on how to better go about this, to let her know as fully as possible that I do love her. Always have, always will.

I do. But it's more important to me that she experience being loved than that she recognize I love her. I know that she gets that from most of those of you that have left me (and her)comments. And that warms my heart too.

I am grateful for that which I am about to receive.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


OK. What do I have to say? I woke up this morning looking afresh at the past. How do I pull this together? Suz's posting of Joss Shawyer's article http://www.exiledmothers.com/voices_from_exile/february2003.html initiated another roll of the adoption story in my psyche. The article included this: "... the first mother must deal with her own pain in another forum, by entering into therapy, by talking to other women who understand, by kicking holes in a wall, by doing whatever helps." What a concept! I didn't know I needed help, support. I thought I was supposed to be a grown woman now, competent, with children "of my own". It was the "children of my own" that gave me the first glimmer of what I was dealing with. Originally I had no shame, only pain. I didn't care who knew about my failure at motherhood. The pain was much more important to acknowledge than trying to keep up appearances. My parents were the ones that didn't want anyone to know - wanted me to get on with my life productively, to put the past behind me. I distanced myself from them because they didn't want to talk about the most important event of my life. Moving on was messy, but I moved and moved and moved. Until 12 years later when my son was born. And I devoted myself to motherhood, with insecurity as well as gusto.

Buster and Ezzy were in school, (spouse) was in graduate school. I was teaching kindergarten. We'd moved to the midwest, learning to live with ice and cold. And (out of the blue) Joy calls. A new kind of fear entered my consciousness. For the first time I was ashamed. I tried to look at the situation through Buster's eyes. How could I tell him I had given my firstborn away? I was his mother! What would he think? If I could sacrifice one child, why not him? What in the world was keeping me and him together? What in the world could have separated his beloved grandparents from their first grandchild? Projecting myself into his point of view was horrifying.

I tried to put distance between him and Joy, to make it impossible that I could have done something so horrible. I had to make it not horrible, just something that happened that he couldn't, wouldn't have to possibly understand. Nobody wanted to acknowledge what had happened. Everyone had their own reasons. They all had to do with it being too horrible. I clung to and repeated the story I'd been fed, about how my baby was wanted by a family that could really take care of her, really love and support her, in the way I couldn't. I was too young. I didn't go into the shaming of how it was also because I had no husband. Or that my parents refused to help me with my child. Or that I was just too alone to raise a child. I didn't want my kids to see their mother as a loser, unwanted. So I made it out like it was all ok(!?!?!?!) Yep everything's fine here. Don't you worry about a thing. We're a happy family here.

All that trauma, all that pain would just have to go someplace else. That's supposed to be a secret. That didn't even really happen. So yeah, Joy and I will have an occasional phone call. We'll write letters, see each other every couple of years. We even started an email correspondence of frequent misunderstandings that is so damn messy we'll just keep it away from Buster and Ezzy. There's something wrong with Mom and Joy but it's their problem. No one else needs to be brought into their mess.

When Buster and Ezzy became hormonally charged teenagers I brought up the fact that I personally knew that an unplanned pregnancy was devastating. Losing my baby to adoption was the worst experience of my life and should be avoided at all costs. But I haven't yet told them that it was the worst thing that ever happened to my baby too. They are no longer 'teens'. They are doing well. I am sharing more and more about my relationship with Joy and her beauty and success. I have fantasies about moving more and more into "normalcy", meaning open acceptance of all of my family, my three children knowing each other, knowing they are siblings, not separated. They grew up in a strange kind of broken home, separated. I am bringing them together inside myself, so I can share them with each other and give them the choice to share with each other too.

This blogosphere is my therapy.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Being Me

I am loving my old drafts as much as any published posts and enjoying incorporating them.

Conception: Here I go responding to someone else's issues/concerns. But why? I suspect I am again trying to justify as well as to explain myself. It's not as simple as it looks from your angle. From a distance you know it looks so much better. Soft focus.

Everyone wants to think they were conceived in love, their particular definition of love. What if we were each conceived in love? The love that was available at the time.

Oh I've entered my impatient phase and I'm trying to balance. I remember KimKim's happiness pact and I am striving to be happy. I am happy! I am remembering that I get what I look for. I am looking for the good, for the divine, in people and situations. That's what I want.

It's fabulous that I am responding to other people's issues and concerns. It's really prodding me to examine my own, to remind me to get on track myself. That's what this blogging is all about, learning about myself so that I can better participate in my relationships.

Name that J.

Last night my fabulous son helped me set up a MySpace account, (friends only). So far he's my only friend. The first thing I noticed is that it opens up with "Hi Justice" because that's the name I listed on my "profile". That's not my name. J. is the alias I was given before I broke into this blogging adventure. J. is too anonymous for me. I considered expanding it to Jemima or Jezebel too. Justice kind of appealed to me in the way I paraphrased it from the Bible: instead of "vengeance is mine" (so says the Lord) I was thinking "justice is mine". That makes me God's, and I like being on God's side. Justice also rings with "doing myself justice" as in doing myself right, doing my best-- even reaching to practicing judiciousness, wisdom.

Maybe it's my developing judiciousness that took a closer look at Justice when I saw "Hi Justice" on the top of my My Space. I started to think about what other people might read into the name Justice. As in seeking justice, righting wrongs, justifying, vigilantes. Ambivalence reigns.

My son certainly didn't seem to take any of those connotations from it. But I guess seeing Tom pop up as "my friend" (before Buster explained Tom is simply the Myspace administrator, everybody's "friend") gave me pause to consider how I appear to those that know me only from the internet. While it may often feel that I'm just talking to myself, I'm also talking to the whole world.

What do I want to say to the whole world?

This morning I went through "J" in the dictionary, looking for the most appropriate J. I could find. I like Joy best but it's taken. Jubilant is too much as is jubilation. Jewel, January(as a feminine form of Janus), Joinery, Journey, Jordan and jus sanguine are all up for consideration at this time.

I'm exploring, finding ways that work, cooperating with what is. I am overcoming resistance; not wanting to take an alias, wanting my regular name. And I am expanding into new territory in the name of privacy. I am wondering about the overlaps of secrecy and privacy.

Monday, January 01, 2007


When Joy first talked about not looking like her aparents I really didn't get the significance. My reference point was people talking about how adopted kids usually turn out looking like they fit in their afamilies. But she didn't. She didn't match or fit the profile.

At a Christmas gathering this year with my husband's family there were 17 of us including a fiance. People were remarking how much the fiance looked like another brother. He fit right into the family. I and another woman were the only ones besides the fiance that weren't blood relatives. Sharing a little geneaology with her we discovered that we can trace ourselves back to a common ancestor. It's over 300 years, but we kind of look alike too. It's comforting to look around the room recognizing yourselves.

Genetics is only part of the picture. Living in close proximity with each other we learn to mimic facial expressions and verbal inflections. Our appearances are altered to match our family culture and to go along with the stories we tell each other. That's part of the mystery of discovering Joy. I recognize her so deeply within me in some ways. And in other aspects I look and wonder where they came from. Did it come from her father? From her afamily? Friends?

These layers of discovery are part of finding our way with each other.

Owning and Honoring

What more is there to say? KimKim nailed it with her post about secrets and lies. I am still learning to step more delicately around others' sensiblities, but I'm not cooperating with deceit.

I'm curious about Joy's many families. She's got her son and her ex husband and the inlaws/grandparents on that side. She's got the family she grew up with. She's got me with hints of siblings. She's got B and his clan. That's a lot to juggle on holidays -- and maintain her own sanity.

Lately everywhere I go I find someone to listen to me talk about me and Joy. People are excited to learn my family is bigger than they knew. I wonder how much of it is dependent on the way I introduce the story. Or is it just fun to learn there's more to me than meets the eye? Whatever, it's definitely different than the reactions I got when Ezzy and Buster were just 5 and 8 and it seemed people were somewhat put off by me announcing I had just reunited with my long lost daughter.

Breaking out of the silence. Many family members "knew" about the adoption, but I'd never really shared my experience with any of them. I'd felt cut off. Intervening years and maturing had brought us closer together. But I'd never talked to any of them about my loss or my hopes regarding Joy. There have been a lot of intervening years again and things are gradually normalizing ~ I think.

Instead of looking at me askance they inquire with interest. My family has expanded. There are more people to know and share with.

I am developing trust in myself, trusting that I have whatever is necessary to make this relationship work. Trusting that I am going to handle whatever comes up. Trusting that truth is bearable, whatever it is, because loves lies underneath it all. That's been my experience and I'm going with it.