Archive for the ‘Fitting into your adopted family’ 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)  ;-)

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…)

Beach Blanket Bonfire Bingo, you’re out

December 6, 2008

Years and years ago I decided, as was usual, to go to my parents’ house for the weekend. I frequently drove the 100 miles to visit. I’d bring my laundry and chill out and watch TV (something I did not have at my apartment) and enjoy home cooked meals – some of which I’d cook myself.

istock_000007909523xsmallSo I called but got the answering machine. I figured they were out somewhere and drove out anyway. I got there and the house was empty. No problem, I just settled in. But when it got later and later I began to wonder where they were. Usually I knew if they were going away because I called every week at least once. They never called me because my father was very conscious of his phone bill and was happier when the call was on mine. He was open about this. I went to bed feeling uneasy.

The next morning I ran into a neighbor who told me they had gone to “BeautifulBeachTown” 4 hours away for a few days. I thought this very odd; disconcerting. I finished my laundry and drove back to my apartment. Days later I called for the third time and my mother answered. She said Oh honey, we had the most fabulous time at the beach in the cottage that Aunt Perfect rented. Everyone was there! Grandmother CutiePie and Sainthood (my brother) and his friend NearNeighbor, and the cousins all brought friends. We had a huge lobster bake and bonfire on the beach and there were so many lobsters that everyone had more than one and we sang songs and swam in the ocean and went for long walks on the beach. The kids brought tents and we made frozen drinks and had corn on the cobb. It was such a great time!

ist2_4251023-depressionI was dumbstruck.

Why wasn’t I invited? I had spoken to Sainthood and both my parents and even Aunt Perfection, who lived another long distance phone call on my dime away, in the weeks leading up to this family getaway. Even the cousins’ friends’ girlfriends had been invited.

We must have told you?

No.

Oh surely we mentioned it. We’ve been planning this for ages!

No. And if you really thought so, did you not notice that I did not RSVP or get the address and/or directions to this amazing family event? Did you notice that I was not there? How did this never come up in all those phone calls over the last few weeks and months?

Oh come on. We’d not have left you out intentionally. (more…)

From whence we came, and how it ain’t the same

December 3, 2008

I think a lot about the pre-adoption experience and how it so permanently affected and formed my brothers and I.

ist2_2206982-birds-in-a-cageMy older brother, Dulce, and I came from the same orphanage and spent our first 3-4 months in the bins, those hopeful, isolated little “waiting rooms”. But my other brother, Lemon Pledge, came from a convent where he’d been dropped off at birth and reveled for his first several months in far too much attention. Dulce and I had little human interaction in those oh-so-important first months (I took early Childhood Development 101, I studied this) and as a result we were both really sensitive and insecure, yet independent and adventurous. Lemon Pledge had dozens of “mothers” who, according to legend, fought over who got to feed and hold him, and when we got him he was pretty much obese and this was alarming to the family pediatrician.

ist2_786886-where-s-the-loveFor LP there was never enough maternal love and as a child he would delight in his tireless and endlessly running joke, “I am the favorite, I should have been an only child.” which might have been funny were it not true. That LP came with health problems earned him the Invisible Sympathy Protection Order and so he could say mean things to us and cheat at Monopoly with full sanction. Those of us outside that invisible fence could not even decline a game of Monopoly and, being ordered to play, would indifferently move shoes and thimbles around the board and simply yawn as LP, always the Banker per Executive Order, won every game with a little help from another of his selves, Mr. Embezzlement.

But still I loved LP and spent far more than I should or could on him at birthdays and Christmas, and one year even handed over my (more…)