Archive for the ‘adopted family relations’ category

A New (for me, and here) and Important Perspective

June 10, 2010
Today I received a comment that I felt immediately moved by, and immediately replied to, and wish to share here. Rather than make you go read the comment under the post “NONONONO”, I will re-post it here, with my response (already emailed) below it. Wow. This has really moved the erath beneath my feet a bit, in a good way, and I am sure it will resonate for days to come. I have yet to get such a candid comment from the “other side”, the perspective of the family of the biomom. Whoa.
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_______________THE COMMENT_______________
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Hello,

I wasn’t adopted, but I can relate to your experiences. I think parents, in general, try to mold their children. I, myself, have to fight the urge to try to make my kids be someone I want them to be. My experience with adoption is that my grandmother gave one of her daughters up when she was born. My aunt was given to a friend of my grandmother’s, and she found out who her birth mother was while she was still a pre-teen. My mother has said it was awful. I also can understand what you say about being in the family, but being on the outside.

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My aunt comes around now occasionally to family functions, and it’s NOT the same as with everyone else. It IS like she is a guest. I wonder how long that will go on? I admit I’m not myself with her, like I am with my other aunts. It’s almost liek I feel guilty about my grandmother placing her for adoption. Although I wasn’t even born then. My grandmother practically raised ME.
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I feel bad for my aunt. My grandmother has 9 kids, and it’s a huge gathering when we all get together with grandchildren and great children also. My grandmother has never explained anything to my aunt about her adoption. I KNOW she feels great guilt and remorse because I tried to talk to her about it one time, and she started crying. My grandmother is a woman who I have never seen cry aside from then, so I haven’t talked about it again. I wish that she would give my aunt that chance to talk about the situation. She deserves that.
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__________________ MY REPLY__________________
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Thanks for sharing such a fascniating and resonant story with me. This is the first time I have ever heard from the family of a resurfaced adopted person and it does me so much good to hear it. I just cannot explain what, and how much, this means to me and how very very enlightening and …   (at an unusual loss for words…) well, it’s a huge first from a not-yet-explored perspective for me. And that you are so very candid about it — from how you feel and act to how others’ feel and act, and that your grandmother cried just that once. Well, it has the makings of an enthralling story. Actually, I’d love to hear more.
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Though I am close to one half-brother and very close to his wife, I still struggle to get along with biomom and have had minute successes but, on equal terms, not her terms, and those terms (hers) are a threat against my autonomy and independence and, most importantly, my true self. The root of that problem is that she is incapable of empathy so she cannot put herself in my shoes. I see this is her everday dealings and I absolutely see it with me. All she sees is the lack of what she wants from me. I also sorta wish I could reach out to your aunt. I think she is brave to attend any functions at all.
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Others — as in the bio family — often have no real idea how (though logically they know it to be probable), in the rest of your life you are this person with intellectual qualities and accomplishments and personality traits and everyday things and quandaries, hopes and joys, feelings, and groceries to buy; normal everyday stuff that has nothing to do at all with being adopted, but in the search-bio family you are a scarlet letter of sorts and like a walking neon sign for “the big secret”, and this is your identity, inevitably.
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That others simply cannot — for lack of experience, or even clues from watching sitcoms or shared anecdotes from acqaintances and friends — treat you as they would others merely speaks to the awkwardness of your being, and may possibly even signify that they care, for if you didn’t make them nervous, wouldn’t they be a teeny bit more at ease? Grasping at straws perhaps but I offer this hypothesis from my feeling that you care about your aunt, if only as a fellow human being, yet still feel ill at ease. It’s all so complicated and hard to tease out the myriad subconscious feelings and reasons when the surface ones are already so convoluted and confusing.
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Thank you very very much. I do take it that you must care about your aunt to have even perhaps googled the topic and found me. I get the feeling you are an extraordinary person and I am most grateful for this comment.
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You have added soemthing very precious and meaningful to my feelings on this topic. Thank you for taking the time to relate your experiences. I will share this with my therapist, and the close friends who know about this, my very secret and anonymous, adoption blog.
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best wishes,
Caramel (not my real flavor)  ;-)

NONONONONO!

March 7, 2009
ist2_2655048-darkness

This is how I feel when we speak on the phone.

I am not sure if what is happening is a search gone bad kind of thing or a simple personality clash, irrelevant of the search. I imagine the relationship/non-relationship must be a large part of this clash. I can’t manage to get a sentence out without being interrupted with some sort of challenge, as if I am uttering some untruth. I can say “it’s raining” and get “NO, it’s not” in that sort of jumping (as in, on me), snappy tone, as if I have been caught in some lie.

ist2_4251023-depression

I cannot even handle a phone call these days. I want to scream NO, I am NOT lying, it IS raining here.

Everything I say is suspect. Most often the challenge comes as a result of misunderstanding or not listening to what I am saying. As in, “the mailman, who is a friend of Jane, told her that he has a pink poodle…” which is then interrupted with “WHY would the mailman tell YOU he has a pink poodle? There is NO SUCH THING as a pink poodle.” She comes at me with all caps, bold and italic, accusatory and loaded with contempt. Everything begins with NO…  NO, it is not raining. NO, that is not how your ____ is, NO, you did not do that, and so on. NONONONONO. It’s a tiresome refrain. (more…)

HELP ME…. I’M MELTING….

January 18, 2009

There is a talk coming; it is necessary and thus, imminent. I find myself resenting that there even needs to be a talk. If people would all take a minute from their own view to consider another, such talks would not be necessary. It is January 18 and I find that I am still steaming from the unwanted gift of an imposed Christmas guilt trip and, since this trip I have been sent on (for it’s a gift you can refuse but one which resonates for its unwantedness and unmerited origin) my feelings toward others have changed.

What I want to ask is, “Have I done that thing?

Have I ever made you feel guilty for dropping me at the orphanage?

No.

It seems that not only have I not done that, I have bent over backwards to ensure that you will not, for a minute, feel any guilt, for I do not want you to feel anything negative, ever. that is my way in this world. Empathy and respect and only positive output.

That’s how people treat others if they love them. Actually I am grateful for the upbringing that I have had, sometimes perhaps more so, given this game. So, if I have not ever made you feel that oh-s0-common guilt, I do not expect, and actually resent, attempts to make me feel guilty.

ist2_4034991-savages-let-looseI told you several times that I had made other plans for Christmas. I was exceedingly clear. I chose how to spend my holiday. I have that right. But for you to demand, when we first spoke after the holidays, “Where were YOU? We waited ALL DAY for you, and FINALLY decided to go ahead and have dinner”, was so wrong.

I call bullshit.

It’s not fair to make it seem like I kept people waiting and ruined any holiday spirit for not showing up where I was NEVER expected.

I have never done that to anyone and never will. Do you ever try to see things from my point of view? Do you ever wonder how it feels in this situation in which it is all of you and me? Maybe can you see how it is perhaps difficult and uncomfortable to join an entire family as the sole outsider? The Secret? Have I imposed any expectations on you, or tried to get you to do life my way or join in my habitual plans? I think not. Then why, oh why, would you do this to me?

Do you not see how some members of your family do not entirely accept me?

ist2_6450448-xxl-being-green

I do. Have I ever complained about this or even mentioned it? Do you not see how your husband has acted out in small passive-aggressive ways to force you to choose, “situationally”, between me and him? Remember that time he “accidentally” sabotaged that party for me? I do not blame him, for I don’t expect others to be any more human than I am. But that this sabotage even happened – and you did notice, even if you are in denial over it – was hurtful. I still care for him. I do not condemn. But it made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to have this action taken against me. And I know it’s me personally but that I represent a relationship with another man; one about which you have said he was always jealous, though they never overlapped. That the same event was sabotaged two more times by both of your other children (of whom he is the biological father) was again hurtful. It’s beyong coincidence and thus obvious. I expect no more or less than that, for I expect noting from you all, and do not know how I would react had my mother suddenly turned up with another child, a secret, that was not my father’s. But I am no fool and could not help but notice this, this thing which you’d have to be clueless to not notice yourself, and it does make me uncomfortable for I am also human. I give myself the same credit that I extend to others. Fair is fair.

ist2_381585-illustration-lieI am a grown up.

I have had a whole life before meeting you. I choose to retain that life and my own family. I am most comfortable with that family and that life. If I choose to spend my holidays with those with whom I feel most comfortable and joyful; if I choose to put myself and my own well-being first, then how dare you not only scold me for that but go so far as to twist that into a lie, and into one in which I have behaved badly and insensitively. For it is a huge and blatant lie to pretend that you waited all day for me at Christmas when I could not have been clearer that I had other plans and would be out of town and NEVER said I would be there.

I heard from another family member that no waiting occurred. I was never expected. No dinner was delayed. Not for a single honest minute. That other person got my message without confusion – the same message I sent to you repeatedly.

I do not respect lying. I do not respect disregard for others’ feelings.

I do not respect fake martyrdom. I will not be a false martyr and happily do what is asked of me over what I want to do, over what is enjoyable to me, in order to do what you want me to do. Martyrs are not selfless, they are foolish sufferers. It is enough that I am there a lot, and do a lot for you and give you things that are precious to me and would actually rather keep. I do not have to give up the holidays that I so cherish. I can understand disappointment. I do not understand demands, deceit and condemnation. And then, rather than discuss this painful scolding you had just unloaded on me, you suddenly had to go, “bye!, you said, and hung up. You knew you’d stepped over a pretty important line. You had to control the conversation and would not allow any further discussion. undiscussed things like this fester and get infected. It’s not an admirable tactic.

You actually refused me the right to discuss this.

That’s also not fair. AT ALL.

ist2_1621082-crown-of-thornsI cannot have this. I cannot be expected to put my life aside. I can share it, but I cannot put it aside or deny myself any of what I have built for myself in favor of your wishes. I will put myself first. You gave up the right to dictate terms to me when you dropped me off at the orphanage. I have no issues with that decision and understand it and know it must have been painful and have sympathy for what you must have gone through. But I expect some consideration as well. It cannot be undone, but I am happy to make it easy to move past that. I will not go through a second childhood with you. i will not be molded into something new and form-fitting; I will not be made into a compliant, controlled half-being.

I am respectful, considerate, kind, thoughtful and empathetic.

That is a fact. It is why the people who love me do so with such abandon. It is how I treat you. Show me some of that in return.

We can have a relationship and we can be friends and I can even love you, unless you refuse to even try to learn to see things from any view other than your own, your desired outcome. That’s not fair or reciprocal. It is one-way thinking. I adhere to the Do Unto Others edict and will never allow you to feel guilty and will go to great ends to see to that. I don’t want you to feel pain or guilt.

So why are you trying to do this to me?

Is it more important to you that people think I have dropped everything and everyone I know to spend holidays with you simple because you want it? Or do you really care about my happiness? Why can’t I be happy and comfortable? Why do I have to be the ONLY one to acknowledge how the rest of your family feels about me? Denial is a band-aid and not a cure. I am big enough to understand that I am an outsdier and that my presence is not much apprecaited by all, and am not much bothered by it. You can deny it all you like, but you’d do better to try for a minute to see how it might be uncomfortable for me. I do not complain of it and I do not let it stop me from coming around. I cheerfully ignore it and am polite and considerate of your entire family, regardless. I make no mention of it to you. But I want some iota of that same empathetic consideration for myself. I do not condemn them for not accepting me and will still visit with them from time to time.

But have any of you ever considered how it must feel from my point of view, to be the perpetual outsider?

ist2_2789202-traveling-with-luggageI think not. Keep it up, and we’ll inevitably become like those other reunion stories in which the people ultimately drift apart. Because, I’ll not continue to put up with this. I will not give up my peace and happiness to play out a pipe dream. If it does not change – this expecting me to walk all the way over the line and into your expectations and demands – it will not last. I have bent, beyond nice, and empathetic, and understanding, and have met you FAR more than halfway. Don’t take advantage of that. Think of me for a minute. Stop making demands.

I have feelings. If they hurt too much, I will protect them at any cost.

I will flee. I have to live with them. I am sensitive. You are not being sensitive of the feelings in this situation which are not your own. Try to be sensitive of all feelings in this situation.

Take a cue from me.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

December 16, 2008

ist2_5417047-in-the-shadowWARNING: THIS GETS REALLY UGLY AS IT GOES ON. PROCEED WITH THIS IN MIND.

I realize that most of my posts lately seem like whining. I don’t know how to tell my story without telling the bad. Because the bad parts are bad. The parts about meeting and getting to know my birth mother are good, yet overwhelming. I had to get over that; that I had actually done this, and am still am getting over it. The residual conflicted feelings I have about myself are the ugly. The pain killers for my disease do not override that ugly pain. Nor does the Valium for the anxiety and muscle spasming. None of it. I tried Prozac but it made me so nauseous I could not function sufficiently to brush my teeth. I had to weigh possibly squashing my demons against treating my physical condition. But they do affect each other. My spine perhaps cannot bear the weight of the demons on my back. Before I got so sick, I tried to wash away my demons with alcohol but grew tired of that. There is no perfect medication.

I read other blogs about people meeting their birth family and having a nice relationship for years and then it falls apart and away. That scares me.

ist2_6493772-adolescent-in-problemsI called my birth mother yesterday and she was upset that I hadn’t called the day before when I said I might come over. I tried to explain that I was so physically wrecked that I spent the day in bed and was in a place of dizzy, swirling pain and could not even make a phone call. How it felt like I was in a pool of molasses and was desperately trying to swim to the surface and just could not. She was still somewhat less cordial than usual, so it seemed to me. I realize that I am still shaky from my life and that I will always be over-sensitive and will still resort to gifts and backflips to win approval. I will always be on guest manners perhaps. I called this morning and she did not answer.

But I know from her – from yesterday’s phone call –  that she is home. I called my stepfather at work to ask an unrelated question but the receptionist said he did not answer his page. This is coincidental and circumstantial but it does not alleviate the paranoia. I fear I will be banished again.

ist2_2986655-fairy-godmotherI am glad I have therapy today. I know intellectually that there is probably a logical reason for her not answering but still, these things throw me into a tizzy as if I am a child at the carnival and have lost my parents and cannot find them. I am always waiting for a stranger to notice that I am lost and take my hand and help me find my conceptual adoring parents who will take care of me and let me borrow a few cans of soup and some toilet paper if I need. But because of the underlying constant paranoia, I think maybe they do not actually exist, because concepts are just that. I cannot help but wonder. I am glad to have this anonymous place to dump these thoughts.

Growing up we were told repeatedly that our parents had gone before a judge in state X who denied them adoption rights because my mother’s health was so very bad. So they packed up and moved to state Y where another judge gave them the green light. They impressed upon us that they went to such lengths to get us and it mainly served to reinforce to us that our family and shelter was almost not available to us but for their sacrifices and this made us insecure. I could not show enough required gratitude; I could not possibly afford the gratitude fee on my 25 cent weekly allowance. And when I’d play rambunctiously or loudly I was told to be quite, in a tone of voice as if I had done something horribly bad, and it was always accompanied by, “Your mother is really sick…”. Well, telling kids that makes them constantly fearful of death and guilty for innocently making noise. We were too young to make conscious decisions about playing quietly. We were the 3-gabled house of Sympathy, Guilt and Gratitude. We were hanging precariously by a few threads.

After my brother, the nice one; the one I call here BeautifulConflictedPoet, killed himself at 22, I drove the nearly 3 hours with the other brother – the one who would appropriate my inheritance years later – to clean out BCP’s apartment. (more…)

Little Miss No Name

December 14, 2008
Little Miss No name. I can relate.

Little Miss No name. I can relate.

The story of Little Miss No Name

Every Christmas my mother insisted on reading the story of The Little Matchbook Girl to me. No matter that I cried and begged her not to, and had nightmares for weeks. No matter that it made me even more insecure. As many adopted people will tell you, gratitude is the key to control; we are often meant to feel forever grateful for being saved from a life in a burlap bag, lived on the street, in which we would die of exposure. Well, yes. I was always grateful but I could never be grateful enough. I did not choose to be born. I am a human being and as much as a biological child, I was prone to that nature part of the Nature vs. Nurture theory of how people are the way they are, according to Psychology 101.

I tried hard. I spewed the rhetoric. I told my friends I was so lucky and my parents were Saints! Did my little girl brain dream that up? Or perhaps was I made to always feel so grateful, and to always feel so guilty for being not how their conceptual Biological Daughter might have been?

Therein lies a big part of Adoptee Guilt.

This link about LMNN from www.whitless.com sums it up fairly well, and I quote:

“The “Little Miss No Name” doll was launched by Hasbro in 1965 and discontinued soon after.  You will notice that her native garb is a brown burlap dress with two patches.  A large plastic removable tear streams from her left eye.  Her right hand stretches out plaintively, begging for — what?  A coin?  A sandwich?  Begging for the Mom who went away after saying, “Stay right here in the candy aisle, honey, Mommy’s getting into this big black van and will be right back”?

That is the mystery of Little Miss No Name.

I can’t feel sorry for them. (more…)

The Twenty Dollars

December 14, 2008
Cinder-fucking-rella

Cinder-fucking-rella

I have always wondered if my adoptive father would have been nicer if we were his biological children. Maybe he was just plain mean, or maybe it was that aggression men can feel toward children they did not make. Sometimes his mean behavior was inexplicably tied to nothing; most times it was tied to money. He got really angry if we ever asked for money, even as children.

My older brother, who got the same treatment as I did, asked him for money once, as he was in need and away at college (on his own dime, and not at my father’s expense) and came up short. My father said no. After that brother killed himself we got a letter from his roommate saying he had died owing him $400. My father sent the asshole a check. This made me furious. That he would find his checkbook for the asshole drug dealer to pay a supposed debt for my brother – who he would not even loan $20 to for food. My brother died at 22. My father was not in any way responsible to that asshole for the supposed debts of a legal adult. I wish I’d kept the letter from that capitalist drug dealer (my brother self-medicated his demons with drugs, I knew this; and that roommate was the dealer, he had told me as much, and more). I think I remember his name. Something like NaXX-abedian.

Knowing this weird money thing, I never asked. I had gotten my first babysitting job and worked 16 hours plus a week – every Wednesday and Friday from 3-11 and then some weekend hours. From that moment on I had to buy my own clothes, shampoo, toothpaste etc. My mother would separate my laundry out from the rest of the family and refuse to do it; I was scolded for using “their” toothpaste. That really hurt because it seemed symbolic. I would do whatever was in the laundry basket rather than separate theirs out but, no matter – she’d do a load that was only partially full, rather than throw my stuff in. I was secretly mad about this but could not express that without getting in trouble. Anger was an offense punished by anger-fueled tactics. The irony was rife.

I was 11 years old. I felt like Cinder-fucking-rella. (more…)

You Are Different and That’s Bad

December 12, 2008
How to make Daddy Care

How to make Daddy Care

Sick humor for bad kids:

Bad, Bad Children’s Books

“Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her.”

WHO: Unknown to me
WHAT: A list of Kid’s Books That Didn’t Make It
ARE THERE MORE? YES:

hey kids! Adoption is hilarious and you’re it! Helpful kids’ book titles to understand  why you are different and how to get attention anyway.

  1. You Are Different and That’s Bad
  2. The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables
  3. Dad’s New Wife Robert
  4. Fun Four-Letter Words to Know and Share
  5. Hammers, Screwdrivers and Scissors: An I-Can-Do-It Book
  6. The Kids’ Guide to Hitchhiking
  7. Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
  8. All Cats Go to Hell
  9. The Little Sissy Who Snitched
  10. Some Puppies Can Fly
  11. That’s it, I’m Putting You Up for Adoption
  12. Grandpa Gets a Casket
  13. The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator
  14. Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia
  15. The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy
  16. Strangers Have the Best Candy
  17. Whining, Kicking and Crying to Get Your Way
  18. You Were an Accident
  19. Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
  20. Pop! Goes The Hamster…And Other Great Microwave Games
  21. The Man in the Moon Is Actually Satan
  22. Your Nightmares Are Real
  23. Where Would You Like to Be Buried?
  24. Eggs, Toilet Paper, and Your School
  25. Why Can’t Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?
  26. Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things
  27. Daddy Drinks Because You Cry