Friday, February 29, 2008

We Made It Through Another One

It has been a really bad couple of weeks for the duck and I but we made it through. Graduation potential disasters have been averted. Since there are 2 graduations, large and Formal on Tuesday and small departmental on the following Sunday, I will be there on Tuesday and her parents on Sunday. I am good with it and the duck and I will have some quality time. She also gets time with her parents without any stress. We will just deal with other occasions as they occur. Ideally her mother would just accept the situation but that will probably not happen. I understand why she would feel better if she doesn't have to deal with the whole reunion thing. I don't think that makes my place less important. Sometimes it is better to recognize that two people who are important to you should not be in an enclosed space together. I'm not sure if my husband and my sister should even share the same planet and I avoid putting them in any proximity. Life is much easier that way.

All this was not accomplished without tears, drama, and a major meltdown (mine not hers). It wasn't the graduation that got to me it was an unfortunate mingling of circumstances where several of our plans for spending time together seemed to fall apart at the same time. I jumped to the usual other mother conclusion...REJECTION. I know every adoptee reading this gets it about REJECTION. I am usually a very calm logical sort who appears to be really cold and distant a lot of the time. The one thing that is guarenteed to turn me into a screaming, crying, irrational mess is any hint that the duck wants me out of her life. We have had our problems before with her pulling away when she really just needs reassurance. I've learned to deal with that. This just felt different. I went into a real regression where I convinced myself that the best thing I could do for her is to back away and quit making her life more difficult by asking for time and attention. It was so much more melodramatic than it sounds. The other mother thing is to go back to the pre-reunion, pre-fog free position of becoming a martyr for the GOOD OF THE CHILD. I got through a lot of years hanging on to the GOOD OF THE CHILD crap and developed an excellent imitation of stoic. Fortunately, the duck is perceptive and hit me over the head with a verbal two by four. We talked, we got through it.

One of the things we are learning is that reunions are really hard and the other people in your life don't make it easy. Even the supportive ones (like our husbands) don't get the drama. The supportive attitude is that you are back together and enjoy each other so why the drama. The drama is real and it is about love, separation, loss, and fear of what might happen. Since the themes are good enough for Shakespeare, I think they count as real drama. This whole reunion is full of those themes. The duck and I talk honestly about it and it has gotten us through some tough places. What we are trying to do now is to quit worrying about our place in each others lives and being a burden or causing problems and focus on understanding our place with each other. I think if we can get to the point where we can really believe that this reunion is real and it is permanant the rest of it will fall into place. I think we will get to a place where we can trust ourselves and each other. It will take time and probably more drama but it is worth it. In the meanwhile, we will keep talking and spend as much time time together as we can.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Reunions and Occasions

We have just encountered the first and probably not the last total chaos situation. For a people pleaser this has to be the fifth ring of hell. My solution was to go to the formal graduation (pomp,circumstances, and speeches) on Tuesday and leave before her parents arrive. Sounds sane but really doesn't resolve much except for the immediate problem. So what happens the next occasion. I have no idea what that might be but it is lurking somewhere. The real problem is that she loves her parents (this is good) and loves me (this is also good). As a side note I refer to her parents as a liguistic convience. I am her mother but not her parent. It keeps things straight. More than just the occasion thing it has got to be a hard place. The fuzzy duck daughter wants to avoid hurting anyone's feelings. This has got to be something like not telling your parents you have been living with some guy for three years. Actually it is probably worse.

I really hate causing her problems and stress. This is where I just want to retreat and quit causing her pain. Doing that would just cause her more pain. Sometimes I wonder if she made a mistake by finding me. Would it be easier if she could just write me off as just another self absorbed bitch that doesn't care about her? That is me shifting into my martyr role. Quick, grab the fog repellant. This is a tough one. The really sad part is I think I would really like her parents. Equally sad is that I am afraid her mom can't wrap her head around the idea that I am not competition for her and it shouldn't be about choice. I believe I have an important place in her life just as she has an important place in mine. It is not the same place her mom has. That is one of those things I had to confront early on. I am not some kind of replacement or supplement for anyone. Maybe it is all about the damn 'MOTHER' word. You know the word that has to be hyphenated. Maybe if I had my own word her mom would feel more comfortable.

So here we are with an unresolved situation that I want to resolve in a way that will make her happy. This is the pushy fuzzy rat mother speaking who wants to organize and fix everything. Just because I often make a mess when I get into trying to fix things doesn't seem to inhibit this impulse. All I can really do is let her make the decision that is right/least bad for her. I am willing (and not offended) to hide behind potted palms, adjust my plans or do whatever seems right. It would be a lot easier if I had no clue why this is hard for the fuzzy duck and even why it is an issue for her mom. Then I could just stamp my foot and demand everyone defer to me as the sainted one who has greatly suffered for giving up her only child so she could have everything a child needs. OK, even in my 37 year fog induced coma that one would make me puke.

Just to add to the drama and insanity, I really like her husband and we get along quite well. He even shares his good wine with me. The image of her huband her mom and I sharing an enclosed space has got to be either the stuff of murder mysteries or a really great Noel Coward comedy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If I could do anything today, I would...

1. Jump on the next plane to Paris and go hide there alone for the next several months or so.

2. Snap my fingers and have my homework be finished, poof. I really don't feel like writing another fucking paper or reading about sex in opera or composing another brilliantly mediocre fugue.

3. Burn down NCFA headquarters.

4. Pretend I wasn't adopted and that I have "real" parents and a "real" family.

5. Really, jump on that next plane to Paris.

6. Jump on the next plane to Paris.

Okay, okay, okay. Today's theme seems to be Escapism. I really hate that adoption seems to bleed over into almost every aspect of my life, despite my heroic attempts to ignore it all. I don't like looking at cute Latino kids and having the first thing to pop into my head be something like, "I bet they were adopted from Guatemala." I hate seeing all those "normal" families out there. I hate it when people say, "Gee, you don't look anything like your parents." I hate that I miss my parents and wish they loved me more. I hate that, despite my fantasies about Paris, I really wish I was in Oregon smoking cigarettes with my mom and getting drunk like we used to do on occasion. I hate that back then I wasn't thinking about adoption so much because I had managed to numb myself. I hate that I really miss my mom today but she probably hasn't even thought about me. I hate that whenever I talk to my fuzzy rat mother, I feel guilty because I'm not on the phone with my mom and my mom might even know that I'm probably talking to my fuzzy rat mother. I hate that it hurts my mom's feelings but she can't/won't talk about it.

It's funny. Posting on forums and starting to blog here have been cathartic in one way and paralyzing in another. I find myself missing the fog. I spent a large chunk of my 20s drowning my inner turmoil in a combination of sex, drugs, alcohol, and parties. I worked at my job like a slave and then partied my ass off afterwards. I rarely talked about adoption, aside from the times that things would finally get to me and I would be frantically searching for my roots. Marching into the courthouse, bitching out social workers, shelling out a lot of hard earned cash to shady private investigators, waiting for a PHONE CALL, waiting for A LETTER that never came. Then, to numb my pain, I would go back to sex, drugs, and alcohol. And work.

Now, adoption is in my face, all the time. I want to let go of it and have things go back to "normal" (ahem), yet I hear the voices of all these other adoptees that are going through, or have gone through, the same kind of shit and I want to support them. I find myself reading news articles that make me puke, reading about pending legislation, reading about injustices everywhere, and seeing "gotcha day" greeting cards that make me puke. I can't just stand here and do nothing. Yet I miss the days when I could escape into the numbing whirlwind. Sex, drugs, alcohol, party, work.

And on that note, I'm going to get some work done, and then go to a party, and do everything but the drugs part. Maybe then I'll feel better.

I Need Some Help Here

I have come up against the hardest one yet in the reuion adventure, not belonging. My daughter has been to visit me and my small family (husband, mother, sister, brother-in-law) several times. My mother and sister are incedibly happy and my husband really likes her. It is much more than them just being supportive of me. They all want her in their lives. It sounds perfect except she feels so much like an intruder. I understand parts of it and why it would remind her of what she missed and how it is difficult to feel like she has an important place in our lives. For those of you that are old enough to have seen/read The Little Match Girl, I think that is what she is feeling. I don't know what to do to help. It hurts both of us.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Struggle of the Week

Some of us nice, little compliant adoptees will do anything to get people to love us. Or like us. Hell, tolerate us.

My obligation list is 3 miles long. I keep myself extraordinarily busy doing things for other people. I aim to please. Problem is, it never seems to be enough. Enough for other people. Enough for me to feel good about myself. Truth be told, sometimes I just want to bend over and have everyone kiss my ass because I work hard and I deserve it, dammit.

But then my inner demons come out. No, of course you don't DESERVE it. You don't deserve to have your ass kissed, sweetheart. You're adopted, dimwit. You're second best. Nobody wanted you. You're lucky you weren't left in a dumpster.

And please, don't try to make me feel better by giving me that "chosen baby" crap.

My adoptive parents didn't choose ME. They chose A BABY. They couldn't have a baby of THEIR VERY OWN, so they settled for second best. Me. That's what they got. And I have done my best, for 38 years, to prove myself worthy. It hasn't worked. Whose fault is that?

In my sane moments, I know it's not my fault. I know I've made mistakes like everyone else. I also know I'm smart, I'm pretty, and I deserve to be loved. Despite the fact that I'm adopted.

My mom, on the other hand, sees me as a big disappointment. No matter what I do, I can't please her. I'm not kidding. That's a long story for another post.

But the thing is, my mother, as in the one who brought me into the world, sees me differently. She tells me she's proud of me. She tells me all these wonderful things that I have a hard time believing about myself most of the time. But there's one thing my mother says to me that is awful. Just truly awful.

"I need you."

Huh? Need me for what? To wash your dog? Do your dishes? Pay your bills? Clean your refrigerator? What? What? What? What can I do for you? How can I be of service?

Apparently, just needs me. For me. For some strange reason.

That scares the shit out of me.

What if she needs me today, but not tomorrow?

Another First

As you can see from my picture, I am a bit shop worn after 2.6 years in reunion but still in one piece and finally (I hope) fog free after 2 years of wrapping myself in the lies. I not only drank the Kool-aid, I made it. The happy reunion ala Oprah is more fog garbage. It doesn't magically cure the hurts. It can be a start. We both struggle with the 2 G words ( far more destructive than the F word) Gratitude and Guilt. Then there is always the attempt to define roles. This is all kinds of fun and usually involves hyphened nouns. My personal favorite is First-Mother. What the hell is that? It sounds like a cross between a vodoo godess and a replaced favorite toy. Who has room in their life for one of those? Then there is the Birth-Daughter. So does that mean no longer a daughter? Where does that fit? We find ourselves in lingustic limbo or a relationship that is almost-like-a-something. Add in our ability to hurt each other and pull back out of fear and you get quite a mix. So all of that said, for me it is worth every minute and every crying jag. We have our ups and downs and they can both be extreme.
The blog is new. I have never posted before to any blog and read very few. In a lot of ways this scares me but I have been assured that there are a lot of people out there who get it. I hope so.