Friday, May 16, 2008

Today I am a Lucky Bastard

I know I have whined on here before about my aparents' complete and utter apathy about my upcoming graduation and how my feelings were so hurt...but get this.

They arrived here this afternoon for graduation #2, two days after my fuzzy rat mother left. Which felt strange in itself for all kinds of reasons. Anyway, my son and I met them at their hotel and we all went out for dinner and were drinking margaritas and...

They were in a good way.

They actually were asking about school, what I was doing, about my friends, and said several times that they were PROUD OF ME. Yes, that's right. They said they were PROUD OF ME. Both of them. I was speechless. We're talking VERY significant words here. I haven't heard those words for at least 20 years.

The really funny moment came after a round of margaritas when I was explaining to my mom how hard it was to get into that insane school and told her about my friend that is double majoring and graduating at 19 because she is just a beautiful fucking genius (I mean, she REALLY is). My mom said, "Who ARE these people?" Then she looked at me and said, "How the HELL did YOU get in there??" And I soooooo got what she meant and was laughing right along with her. Because I have thought that very same thing so many times. I was such a flake the first time I attempted to go to school. My parents always knew deep down I was a nerd but that I rarely applied myself and got rather shabby grades in college before this. Then my mom said, "Well, it doesn't matter WHEN you did it, it just matters that you DID it and we're proud of you." And then she said something about how hard music was, (she took piano lessons for many years and was pretty impressive at one point), and that she had been worried about me because she knew how hard it would be and she was worried that I wouldn't graduate because of it.

Um, excuse me, did someone go and do brain surgery on my parents? These aren't the same people I have known for 38 years.

Anyway, after we left, they pulled up next to my car and my mom got a greeting card out and said, "Here, this is for your graduation." And I opened it, and it was the sweetest, most loving card. They signed it, "We are proud of you! We love you. Mom and Dad." And inside was a very large check. Large enough that I don't have to worry about anything for a while. I couldn't believe it.

Suffice it to say, I turned into a blubbering crying mess right there in the back seat, but they were happy tears. It wasn't about the was because for the first time in many years, I felt like they really do love me.

Yes, I am a lucky bastard tonight. My fuzzy rat mother loves me and so do my parents. I get extras.

I just wish my fuzzy rat mother wasn't at home hurting right now, wishing she could be here. But I hope she reads this and feels good. If I know her well enough, I think she will.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Day Cards and Graduation

I got home last night late as usual with airport delays after 4 days with my daughter. Mother,s day and graduation were firsts. Our first mother's day together and the first major life event together. That is a lot in four days. I can't write about the card or the gift because I'll start crying all over again. Yes I really am her MOTHER. Most of the time I am even a good mother. At least I try to be and I want to be because my daughter is wonderful. That isn't quite right, I want to be a good mother because I have a daughter that means the world to me. Her husband gave me a great present, a day alone with her. After breakfast he took my grandson and went over to his mother's house for a family celebration and sent us off. It was a perfect day. The Hallmark holiday I have always loathed and it was perfect. I should have had 38 of them by now but I believed the lies. I want to turn Mother's Day into Stop Adoption Day. I'm sure Hallmark could come out with some appropriate cards.It's not that I am not grateful (yes we are also supposed to be grateful for the wonderful people who gave our child the good home THE child deserves). I am grateful that my daughter found me and was stubborn enough to not take no for an answer. I am grateful that I have a husband who supports me and cares for my daughter and grandson. I am grateful for a daughter that dragged me out of the fog and taught me how to be alive again. I am grateful for the support from the adoptees and natural mothers who showed me I wasn't alone in this. And to all the judgmental hypocrites out there who delight in re-allocating children to worthy people who can give THE child what they deserve (swimming pool included) I am grateful that they taught me a lesson. May all of them have the same opportunity.

Graduation was wonderful. I was there with my grandson, son-in-law, his mother and sister. I got to see her in her cap and gown and hear the speeches. I got to go out to dinner with all of them. I got to tell her how proud of her I am. I got to feel so puffed up thinking look what my beautiful, smart talented daughter has accomplished. There will be more this weekend. The small departmental graduation this weekend where she will be given her diploma and recognized as graduating with honors. There will be a performance on Saturday night where the graduating seniors will be signing. She will sing some very funny songs. I won't be there. Her parents will arrive tomorrow. We did the right thing. It hurts.

So mother's day and graduation gave me so much more than I ever thought I would have. I am an ungrateful bitch because it hurts that I didn't get it all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day

What would an adoption blog be without the obligatory MOTHER'S DAY post? C'mon now.

Okay, we hate this Hallmark Holiday as much as all y'all do. But this year for us will be different.

This year, we're spending it together. For the first time in 38 years.

I'm on the way to the airport to pick her up. She is coming for my graduation, but in trying to ignore the Hallmark Holiday, we didn't even realize that she was going to be here over Mother's Day. We scored.

So I decided this year, she deserved what she has never received - a homemade Mother's Day Card, made out of a folded piece of paper and drawn in purple crayon. I drew a couple of stick figures in it with hearts and stuff. The inside says:

So here it is - that awful day
I used to wish to forget.
I loved you every Mother's Day
Even though we never met.

But this year's very different -
Today won't be a fight
Cuz we've got wine and cheese and each other
And we'll do this day up RIGHT.

I know, I know, it won't win any awards, but hey, it's how I feel, okay?

I will be thinking of all of my fellow adoptees and natural moms out there - those who were lucky enough to overthrow the system, get the paperwork you weren't "entitled" to, and fight through the fog to find each other.

Most of all, I will be thinking of all of you that can't share this day together and hoping you find the strength to cope.

Mother's Day: The Day Adoption Sucks for Everyone.

Let's just all get drunk. We deserve it. Cheers.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Once Born, Twice Rejected

A fellow adoptee just got the infamous REJECTION letter this week. When I read the words her mother wrote to her, I could feel my insides tying themselves in knots. I wish I didn't know how it felt to hear words like that. I wish that no adoptee ever had to feel that kind of pain.

Yet, in getting to know my Fuzzy Rat Mother over the past three years, and getting to understand her thought processes - from being deeply entrenched in the fog to coming out on the other side - I have to admit I have a certain amount of empathy for this adoptee's mother, as much as her letter pissed me off. I wish I could run to this woman's house, bang on her door, and scream at her until she understood that she is hurting herself as well as her daughter. But I know there is nothing I could say, nothing I could do, and that just kills me.

This woman loves her daughter, but she can't let herself be loved...she doesn't seem to think she deserves it. Or something.

I just hope, perhaps beyond reason, that this woman will somehow, some way decide to open her door.

She doesn't know what she's missing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


My mother and I have been talking a lot lately about communication and why it's been so essential to the "success" of our reunion.

But is our reunion really a "success"?

Really, is ANY reunion of people separated by adoption really a "success"? How do you even begin to measure that?

Okay, let's look at the bright side. Confronting all these emotions, even sharing this blog, has been very healing for both of us. My mother has come out of the fog and is starting to learn how to feel again. I am learning how not to feel guilty for feeling. I have met three people - my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother, who I have grown to love dearly - not just because they are part of my flesh and blood, but because I think they are genuinely good people...people that I would be honored to know whether they were my own flesh and blood or not. Yes, in that department, I consider myself extremely lucky. They are worth every bit and more of searching hell - all 17 years, including the years that my mother refused contact because the fog had gotten her so bad.

I'm sure our little "reunion" would be perfect on Oprah or something. Oh look how WUNNERFUL it all is. Gee, we look SO MUCH ALIKE. My mother is continually amazed that the very same people who would have trashed her and thought she was a slut for getting pregnant would be the very same people who think it is so WUNNERFUL that we are reunited now.

Yet here I am, still a fucking alien. Here is my mother, still feeling like the Sainted Slut.

I shouldn't feel that way, should I? I got the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, at least in Adopto-Land. I am on the Path Of Healing. I am Out Of the Fog. I have Stopped Drinking the Fucking Kool-Aid. I Found A Great Family Who Loves Me And Accepts Me And Is Relatively Drama-Free. I don't have to hide from anyone. I don't have any half-siblings on my mother's side that don't know about me. My mother's husband actually seems to like me and like my son too. My aunt and my grandmother act like maybe I just went on an extended vacation or something and they missed me for a few years - I think it's their own way of coping with the weirdness. My adoptive family just chooses to ignore the whole thing, but both of my parents told me at one time that they were happy for me, and underneath all the hurt, I know they secretly still are. That could be a fuck of a lot worse.

So if my newly found family so readily accepts me, why the heck can't I just embrace them and stop alienating myself? I hate to use the term, but why can't I just be grateful?

I know why...because I have gotten too comfortable with being the alien. I'm not comfortable being on the inside. I don't really know what unconditional love is outside of my relationships with my husband and my son. When I first met my mother, I looked for similarities. Now sometimes I look for ways that we are different and use it as an excuse to alienate myself a little more. I can't bring myself to go back to Ohio again. It's too comfortable, therefore it's uncomfortable. One of the hardest things in the world for me to do is sit around the table and eat a meal surounded by people who look and act like me, people I don't have to struggle to find something to talk about with. People I don't worry about offending because we agree about almost anything, or at least see each other's logic chains and can very amicably agree to disagree with no hard feelings. It's stupid. That actually HURTS me.

It's awful in some ways, I think, having a "good reunion". It reminds me too much of what I missed. And I can think of about 1000 people who probably want to bitch-slap me for saying such a thing that would kill for the situation I've got.

Be that as it may, tonight I am feeling that deep, awful adoptee anguish again.

It's never going to go away, is it?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Expressing Emotions or Why Reunions Are Hard

As always when Fuzzy Duck and I are together things happen, sometimes good sometimes not so good but always things that lead one or both of us to a better understanding. Las Vegas was no exception. For the first time I actually let down my defenses and let all the emotions out. When we were talking today she was asking me about it. She sees this as totally out of character for me and doesn't seem to think of it as a real permanant state for me. Since I was having trouble articulating she suggested I blog. As usual, she is right. Writing makes me stop and think before I put something down and keeps me out of mental loops and facile answers so I will give it a try.

Fuzzy Duck is right when she says that I behaved differntly (and still am by the way). I can see why she raises her cute little eyebrow in great scepticism. As an aside, she has a cute little eyebrow thanks to skill with wax not great genes. She inhereted the uni-brow from me. Sorry about that Duck. So, back to the subject at hand. The fact is that I am behaving more like myself than I have for the last 38 years. I even find myself gratuitously hugging my mother. Before Fuzzy Duck (BFD), OK I couldn't resist that one, I was very open, affectinate, and senstive. Post Fuzzy Duck (PFD) I became very reserved and very distrusting of emotions. I could introduce you to a lot of co-workers who would describe me a a cold bitch, my friends would just call me reserved. I got through 35 years by denying emotion. I wasn't cold or unfeeling just careful to keep emotions in check. It was the only way I could get through it. If I ever let my emotions loose I don't know what would have happened. It is hard to describe but it was a knowledge that if I ever allowed emotions to surface that I would just start screaming and crying and loose all control so I kept a very tight control. It gets easier with practice. I learned to lock away a part of myself. It was always there and the emotions would come out at weird times but I learned control. Perhaps I should have entered a convent. I would have been good at it. All empathy and no sympathy worked for me. She asked me if this change came all of a sudden. The answer is no. Over the last 3 years I have been gradually dropping little pieces of the control when I am with her until I realized that the control was not needed. I think that what finally happened was when I saw her this time I just felt safe with her. I didn't need to control my emotions, there was no longer a purpose for it. Its not that I think that there will be no more difficult times between us. Of course there will. We have both been horribly hurt by the reliquishment and carry around all sorts of ugly baggage. I don't need this baggage anymore. I am safe with her. I imagine I am capable of back-sliding a bit if my feelings get hurt but it will be a tempoaray state. No one and nothing can take her away from me again. She chose to love me and let me be a part of her life. I am a very fortunate woman.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas (Me Too)

I finally got home after a week long conference following my visit with the Fuzzy Duck. I hated her leaving. I hated staying. She is so right. I miss her like crazy. It hurts but not the same way. I feel loved. It makes me smile and want to dance. I keep sending her virtual hugs and I think she feels them.

She is also so right about our latest discovery, reaction to the same hurts. We will blog about this. For the first time I opened up about my feelings and how I coped and what I believed about myself. I never could before because it always felt like I would be saying that I was hurt as much as she was so her pain was no more important than mine. I had no right to dump anything on her head because it was my stupid decision to relinquish. Not telling her was the wrong thing to do. It was the best thing for both of us. It suprised me how much of our behaviors were just different reactions to the same rhing, a big hole in our lives. How could she understand what I meant by needing her when she didn't understand how much I missed her for all those years. No wonder reunions are hard. Honesty and openess about feelings is difficult for both. You have to over come all the self-protective strategies developed over the years. It is so worth it.