Archive for the ‘Reactions to the long lost kid put up for adoption’ 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)  ;-)
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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.

Inadvertent Comparative Thanksgivings as experienced by Miss Givings

November 28, 2008

ist2_520198-group-of-fishesLast year I spent Thanksgiving at one of my half brothers’ (HB2) houses. I’d only just met my mother almost 2 months before and had only met the sons once. I’d met everyone at once that time, a few weeks earlier. At that time one of my HBs (HB2) had said, “We’ve been waiting to meet you but I guess, I don’t know, you needed some space or wanted to wait for some reason” and I laughed nervously and said “well, It’s a little overwhelming meeting a lot of people at once who have only just found out about your existence.”

“Yeah but we are the most easy going people you’ll ever meet”.

“Well I didn’t know that. I hadn’t met you yet. It is a bit overwhelming from my perspective.”

“Whatever.”

I guess you can’t expect people to understand. They’d not been adopted out and they’d not had to suddenly meet a whole new family at once. But they were very nice, just maybe uninformed and maybe hadn’t spent a lot of time trying to imagine how it must feel from my perspective.

ist2_6956692-shattered-windshieldSo I had gone to the other HB’s (HB1) house for Thanksgiving and brought a gift; a handmade gift. I make nice things that people spend money on. I have had a lot of shows and press. They never opened the box but merely tossed it aside (Ouch! Glass inside!) and mumbled oh, thanks, and went back to work preparing dinner. It’s hard not to always compare. I’d grown up in a family in which one dropped everything to carefully open and exclaim over a gift. It was just different. I am human. We all compare people and situations; it is inevitable because situations trigger memories of past and similar situations. I don’t want or expect an exact replica of my first family. But I cannot not notice the differences, good, bad and indifferent. For I absolutely see the good and sometimes can’t help but wish I’d had that growing up.

ist2_3968100-two-kittens-playingAfter dinner the adults were sitting around in the kitchen. The kids – my birth mother’s grandkids – were sitting at the kitchen table nearby and suddenly I heard them teasing their cousin (daughter of HB2), telling her “You’re adopted.” over and over, and laughing, and I glanced over at them and sorta wilted for the weirdness of this, being embarrassed for the play of children. I am too old to feel this way. None of the other adults seemed to notice, they were busy talking. The boys (sons of HB1) kept up this chant, glancing sideways at the adults all the while, but still only I noticed. The girl looked confused; she didn’t know what ‘adopted’ meant and her parents had explained my sudden appearance in different terms than HB1 and his wife had to their kids. I had a friend with me who looked at me to see how I was coping. But we were both on guest manners of course, I feel like I will always be on guest manners, and would not dream of mentioning it although we did start the process of taking our leave. At some point HB2 – the father of the little girl – noticed and said, “hey why don’t you guys go play upstairs”.

My friend and I left and discussed this on the way home; she was shocked, I was a bit deflated, after all I was just a guest, and I felt shamed. The next morning I had a voice message from my birth mother, left at midnight, saying please call me right away. She said her son HB2 had called her at 11:30 pm the night before and was horrified at the kids’ games and wondered if I was ok. So maybe he did empathize a bit when he saw what was happening. It had been rather loud after all and somewhat bizarre that the other adults had totally not noticed even though HB1 had glanced over a few times during this game that his kids were engaged in which made my friend and I wonder why he did not intercede. That sorta hurt. My birth mother was really upset. “Are you ok? I am so disappointed in the boys. I am going to have a talk with them,” and etc. I said “They are just kids. This is a totally new concept for them. Kids learn by playing with things, including concepts. I don’t take it personally. I imagine it must have been hard to tell the kids that grandma had this child who suddenly turned up. It’s ok. They should not be reprimanded and they should not be made to feel bad because that will just send them the message that adoption is a bad thing.” But she was shaken. The next time I saw the boys they were sheepish and did not talk to me much. This made me feel more guestly and more shaky.

ist2_2849109-doll-21This year Thanksgiving was different. I brought no gift. When I was given a glass of wine it was not in one of the ones I had given them last Thanksgiving but I figured it didn’t go with the china, which seemed really important that day, or perhaps they were packed away somewhere. I admit wishing that I had that gift back. I hope I don’t see those glasses at Goodwill some day.

I was having a friendly conversation with HB1’s wife and in the middle of telling her a little and brief story about something, her husband asked a question and she just walked away without a word. I could not help but notice that, and muse that in my former family any of us in that situation would have said, “Will you excuse me?” And would then return and say, “Sorry about that. Now where were you?” and I’d get to finish my brief tale and not feel ashamed for having possibly bored the hostess to the point that she’d need to walk away. And that is a crazy thought but I have that adopted kid insecurity in my core. And it’s impossible not to compare. We do it with exes and so why would we not do it with families? But I noticed this walking off in the middle of someone speaking thing happening a lot yesterday and I know to not take it personally. Because it’s not personal. While I am The Secret and The Newcomer, they seem to accept me as family (ish) and it doesn’t really matter who or how I am. It’s not personal. The half brothers have asked no questions at all about my life before them. I can’t help but ponder the oddness of that. Is there zero curiosity?

ist2_1834688-bulimicDuring dinner prep I watched HB1 take the foil off the tray of rolls and sort them out; touching each one and making a perfect grid on the pan. He then patted down all the rolls with his hands as if contemplating their springy firmness. I could not help but think that if he were a brother I’d grown up with, I’d have felt comfortable enough to say hey, why are you touching all the rolls that people are going to eat? But I can’t do that, I am The Newcomer and The Guest. Sometimes I miss my adopted family because their ways are comfortable and familiar. And regardless of what they have done or could ever do to me, I will still always love them in that desperate way that kids love their families.

I tend to think I will always be on guest manners. I did not eat a roll.