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.
( 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?"