Sunday, March 30, 2008

Just Giving Up

I feel about as important as a speck of dust.

I should be used to this by now. When I turned 21, my amom told me her obligation to me as a parent was over and "we could just be friends".

I get reminded of this fact more and more as I get older. I called my amom today to wish her a happy birthday - despite the fact that my parents forgot my birthday this year. I was really trying to let that go. We chatted about the weather and politics and whatnot. Then my parents couldn't remember what day I was graduating and wanted to know when it was again. They are going to "stop by" to see my graduate, they said, but they have a vacation planned where they are driving up the coast and won't be able to stay at the ceremony very long and they won't be attending the party afterwards. Oh and by the way, my aunt (adoptive) and all my cousins are going on a cruise in the Mediterranean over my graduation so they won't be able to make it. OK.

I wonder what it's like to have a family that genuinely gives a shit.

I have tried, tried, and tried again...and every time I get burned.

I'm through trying...or caring.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No Contact Chapter II

I guess that it is about time to answer the original question, why did I initially refuse contact. In a lot of ways this is a lot harder to write than chapter I. A lot of the reason is that this is recent history and I don't have the excuse of being 23 years old and not really fully adult. I also realize that it cost 3 years that I could have had with the fuzzy duck and probably caused her more harm than the original relinquishment. I am just comming to terms with adoption and what it means. I can look back 38 years with some objectivity and understand the frightened young woman I was. It is harder to look back 6 years and understand how I could have been so closed off from reality. So much has changed in me since my reunion with the fuzzy duck and I am just starting to understand this new and improved me. Improved because I am learning to trust my emotions after spending 35 years trusting only cold fact and bowing to the alter of objectivity and logic. I am still learning that grtuitous hugs are wonderful and even the pain when the duck and I are at oddsis better than retreating from all emotion. I haven't tried it yet but I may actually be able to hold a baby and enjoy it. For 35 years I wouldn't hold a baby (there were a couple of unavoidable situations where one was thurst at me and I didn't jump out of the way fast enough). It doesn't take too much to figure out that one. If the baby wasn't my fuzzy duck I didn't want to be near it. Maybe I should try holding a baby now. I just might like it.

As usual, I am procrastinating. When I left tis story you had heard what I felt about the relinquishment. After I finally figured out that you don't get over it I spent a lot of time figuring out how to live with it. I did this by never talking about it. I have a very close friend who I have known for over 30 years who was astonished when I told her after my reunion with my fuzzy duck. So when I say I didn't talk about it. I'm not exagerating. My family learned quickly that if even a hint of it was brought up I would quickly change the subject or just walk away. I firmly believed that it was done and nothing could change it so talking would serve no purpose. That doesn't mean that I never thought about my fuzzy duck. I never stopped missing her and was aware of every birthday. Just when I would start to think that it was getting better someone or something or maybe for no reason she would pop into my head. Oddly enough she would pop into my head as a toddler then as a child, a teenager, a woman. I watched her grow up in a way. I think some mothers always think of an infant. I didn't. I got through it by being certain that I had done what was best for her. She had loving parents that were giving her everything that I couldn't. She didn't remember anything about me and didn't need me for anything. I might need her and miss her but I got exactly what I deserved for being a stupid slut when I was 22. The emptiness was my atonement. So now you have met the martyr. (I am still working on that one).

The first attempt at contact was a Letter I recieved from a social worker frm the Salvation Army. I was asked to contact them regarding THE child born in XXX on 99/99/9999. I ran upstairs to my bedroom bedroom and cried hysterically (very not typical behavior for me). I think I scared my poor husband half to death. When I told him about the letter he got me calmed down and asked what I wanted to do. He encouraged me to call and pointed out that she had every right to updated medical information. He also told me he would support me no matter what I decided. It was my decision and I needed to do what was right for me (I told you you he is a great guy and he has stood by me every step of this journey). I worked up my courage to call with the intent to give whatever information was requested and then retreat back into the shadows where I belonged. I was back to my usual calm exterior when I made the call and talked for a long time to the social worker. I was relieved when the social worker told me that my fuzzy duck was happily married with a young son and was a very articulate attactive woman. It sounded like she had everything I had always wanted for her. I updated all the medical information and told them they could contact me if there was ever any kind of medical emergency where she needed a biological match (the duck is still trying to figure out why I would give her a kidney but wouldn't talk to her). I also promised I would keep them updated with any new information. What I wouldn't do is hear either of the two letters she wrote, one if I wanted contact and one if I didn't. I couldn't face that. My daughter was a stranger. How could I still have my daughter when she spoke as a stranger and looked at me with mild curiousity? I had just given her everything she could need from me, medical stuff. So the answer to no contact is believing I could be nothing to her but a curiosity when she was my daughter and I wanted to and I wanted to give her everything. It is about fear. I'm not good enough for her, I will only be a disappointment to her but most of all I was afraid she couldn't care abot me.

It has just occurred to me I need to finish the story. Why I changed my mind. Perhaps more to the point, how the clever, stubborn little fuzzy duck finally brought me to my senses. That will be the next post. She is the only person in the world who could shake up my martyr ridden existance. She is still working on it. I don't know that she will ever really understand how wonderful I think she is.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Contact

I got an interesting question the other day. On one of my posts I mentioned that not only did I reliquish I also initially refused contact. The question was why no contact. I was able to give the short answer, fear. I was even able to list specific fears: disappointment one she talked to me, only curious, she would care too little, I would care to much, not what she expected, and it goes on. The more I thought about it the more I realized that there was a lot more to it than that. Why would these fears be that strong? I figured out pretty fast that these fears came from what happened when I was pregnant and decided to relinquish so I can't really answer the contact question without going back to that. The fuzzy duck and I talked a lot about these topics during the reunion and I know I never really explained myself well. We decided that each of us would do a post on this (dearest fuzzy duck you better keep your end of the bargan or the entire adoption blog world will know what you pack in a sandwich bag). We will write entirely in the first person as honestly as we can about what the relinquishment and the first attempted contact did to us. For my part it is an explanation of sorts of why I made the decisions I did. It is not intended as an excuse or even an apology but only what happened and what I was thinking at the time. You will notice I have spent a lot of time on this paragraph. Its only because I am procrastinating. Enoght already, here I go off the bridge.

Most of you are probably familiar with the baby scoop era and a lot of you read 'The Girls Wo Went Away' so you have a context. I got pregnant in the era when good girls didn't do IT. If they lapsed and did IT and got caught all would be forgiven if they married the father (or someone who thought/wished he was the father). This was a couple of years before abortion was legal. Not that abortions weren't around. Two of my friends almost died from illegal ones. So we have limited choices and a nice girl from a nice middle class family who were supportive but disappointed in me. Marriage was not an option. I was old enough to make my own decision and my own arrangements with help from my sister and friends. Adoption seemed like the most logical choice since a single mother did not have a whole lot of social support and almost no job options. That was an easy decision while I was just pregnant and it was about MY pregnancy and not about MY child. About the first time the fuzzy duck kicked me she (even though I thought it was he) became MY child and I loved her. By that time I was up to my neck in social workers and Salvation Army Home staff. There was a consistent message. The best thing I could do for THE child was adoption. I couldn't give her anythingShe could have a normal life with parents who could take care of herand love her and give her everything she needed and I couldn't. There is a message here that since I was not too bright and had no morals as evidenced by the fact that I was unmarried and pregnant THE child deserveda lot better than anything I could give. Doubts I had were explained as hormones and I would regreat it later if I changed my mind and it would be best for THE child if she were adopted into a loving family. The message here is listen you stupid slut on top of all your other short commings don't compound your sins by being selfish. I drank the Kool-Aid, jumped into the fog and signed the papers. I had 3 days with her in the hospital. I don't remember the next 3 months. It took me about a year to realize that you don't get over it and you don't forget like they said. So I spent the next 32 years never speaking about MY child but always remembering and always loving her. After a false start or two I got my life togther and eventually married a great guy who knew about the adoption and didn't think I was a stupid almost-selfish slut. I stayed firmly in fog land and atoned for my earlier sins by becoming a silent martyr. I was hurting but I wrapped myself in the belief that I had done the best thing for MY child. She had loving parents and I hoped she was doing well in school and that she had every thing and and and. It worked. I didn't scream or cry hysterically or weep on friend's shoulders. I just had bad days when I withdrew from people. I didn't talk about it. There was no reason. I avoided anything to do with the subject of adoption.

End of Chapter One

This is taking a bit out of me so I am going to go poor myself a glass of wine and have some dinner. I will write chapter 2 within the next couple of days for myself and those of you who may wonder what all of this has to do with why I refused contact. In the fine literary tradition of cliff hangers I will tell you that it is damn hard to atone for sins and get a second chance.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Just be NICE to each other, dammit

My husband is a super supportive guy, but he doesn't understand adoption crap. I think my mother's husband is similar. They both kind of stand by the sidelines and let my mother and I duke it out. I was explaining our latest mishap (which was at least partially MY fault...there, I publicly admitted it, mother!!) and he did the kind and supportive maneuvers, after which he said,

"Why don't you guys knock off the bullshit and just be NICE to each other, dammit?"

Hmmmmm. Now THAT's a thought, huh??

Simple but profound.

I mean, it's not like I don't LIKE my mother. Yes, I love her, but I LIKE her too. She is someone I would choose to hang out with on a regular basis regardless of the fact that we are related. She makes me laugh like no one else. There is no one else on the planet that I'd rather get drunk with and converse about everything from Mendelssohn to Mayan ruins.

But we have so.much.damn.baggage.

It's the lethal combination of the baggage and leftover fog remnants (martyr routines, etc.) that get in the way of us having a pseud0-non-dysfunctional relationship. She said to me as we were trying to resolve this last conflict, "Goddammit, it doesn't matter WHAT I say, WHAT I do, it's never quite good enough." That got to me so bad and made me feel so guilty I almost had to hang up on her because she's right. I can't trust her. Hell, I can't trust ANYONE. That fundamental Freudian first stage of life, Trust/Mistrust, was disrupted. There's danger lurking around every corner. Things are good between us? Ha! Surely, I must be smoking crack.

We are working things out. We're able to have quasi-normal conversations again. I'm really looking forward to seeing her next month in Las Vegas (but is Vegas ready for us? Probably not.)

In other good news, my grandma called me today (as in the fuzzy rat's mother). I haven't talked to her in months. We spoke for a long time. She said how much she missed me. That makes me smile a lot, to know that it's not just me that misses her.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trials Tribulations and Reunions

I finally have had the heart to get back on. Its been another rough week. Knowing there are people out there who get it helps. The fuzzy duck was right. She encouraged me to start. Many thanks to all the people who left comments. I have been reading the links but not commenting much. I think it is time to mend my ways and jump in with both feet. Most of the time I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to add. Now I know that sometimes just knowing someone gives a damn helps. Its probably another stupid holover from fog land. Since I was told that I just needed to get over it and move on with my life I thought that I had a problem when that was not something I could really do. I really believed that relinquishment was like having you wisdom teeth out, it hurts like hell for a while but you get over it soon enough. So who misses their wisdom teeth? I spent 36 years trying to get over it. Since I didn't end up on the streets or kill myself I suppose that makes me successful.

Now I know that reunions are hard. There is so much baggage on both sides. It involves two people who are both hurt and vulnerable. We can hurt each other in ways that no one else can and it happens. I think behind it all is the fear of rejection. I can understand why the fuzzy duck thinks I could just walk away when things get rough. I am not only the one who relinquished her in the first place, I also refused contact when she first reached out to me. There are a lot of days when I wish that I didn't understand what that did to her. I have given her two very good reasons not to trust me. Knowing that I keep trying to show her and tell her how much she means to me. I keep bungling it. I,m at my worst when things between us are at their best. Thats when I think we are past the hardest part and just look forward to our next conversation/e-mail/time together. Thats also when she thinks it is too good to be true and is sure that it can't last. At least thats what I think is going on. So we hurt each other again. We talked yesterday and I hope we will talk again this weekend. I wish I could know what to do. HELP, I need a reunion rule book. I'll even settle for the Cliff's Notes version if that all that is available. This is way too important to keep makimg mistakes. I am sitting in the middle of a blizzard with an impassable driveway. This is a good day to troll the blogs.