Sunday, October 26, 2008

When It Is Good

Since my last post my daughter and grandson have been here for my mother's 90th birthday. It was incredible. My mother didn't think they would be able to come and she was so excited. We had a small afternoon reception (about 50 people) or about half the people in town over 80. My cousin was there. He had not met my daughter until then. It was perfect. A lot of the people in the room knew our story. The rest knew that my mother's granddaughter and granson came all the way from California for the party. Before the party my daughter asked my mother if there was anyone she should be careful around or would be offended if they found out about the adoption. My mother's response was that if anyone took offense she would just show them the door. During the party my daughter realized that my mother really had been bragging about her. I wonder how many times she heard, "O you are the muscian, its so wonderful you are here." My mother's minister who does know the story and is a wonderful person walked up and hugged her. Her cousin took one look at her and got teary and said "you look just like my Uncle Aggie (my dad)". She finally began to understand how we feel about her and her son. The fact is that my mother, sister, brother-in-law, husband, and cousin see her and her son as part of the family. If anyone wants to disapprove, they may do so but they need to take it elsewhere. We love her and her son. Someone doesn't like it, thats their problem. She belongs.

My daughter is begining to really believe she is loved. It is something I wanted for her but was afraid would never happen. It scares her in some ways. I understand that. It makes me sad in some ways. It is what she should have known her whole life. Every child deserves to know that they are loved just because they belong. No child should ever have to believe that they are only loved if they 'earn' it every day.

I had a really bad day yesterday. I have been reading Birthmark by Lorraine Duskey. I saw so many parallels with myself. It all hit me. My daughter has never really felt loved and accepted because of my decision. I can never make that up to her. After a rediculous amount of birthmother guilt I finally came to my senses. I can't change the past. I can live in the present and do everything I can to show her that she is loved and does belong. I have a family who loves us. I can show my grandson that I love him. I can enjoy knowing they love me. Damn I miss her.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I have been away from this and all other blogs for a while. I wasn't sure exactly why until I read what my daughter wrote. I realized that what she has been going through plays into every evil fog hangover insecurity I have. I have been feeling quite useless. The last time I was out trolling around the adoption blogs I came up on one of the best BSE mother articles I have ever read (of course I can't remember where it was and how I got there). Whoever wrote it was saying everything I would if I were half as articulate. I felt like I had been kidding myself. Everything I have to say has already been said. What do I have to add to this. I can't make anything better. So that relates exactly how to what your daughter wrote, you say. Easy answer, what she describes makes me feel like nothing I do or say can make her feel any better and many times I think I just make it worse.

Here is where the insecurities relly come in to play. The 'best for the child' lie is based on the idea that you (the mother) are incapable of giving your child what she needs. I absolutely believed that. What kind of an idiot could possibly think that a child wouldn't be much better off in a stable home with a mother AND a father. What child wouldn't be better off being raised in a home with economic stability and the chance for a good education. So it follows that I have nothing good to give to my daughter. I cannot make her life better only worse. Yes I am out of the fog but I have one hell of a hangover on that one. I want her to feel secure and know she is loved. I want her to understand how important she is to me. If she doesn't feel loved and secure then I have failed her. I really need to get past this hangover. I act weird when I feel insecure. I send out all kinds of mixed signals and ping around. This behavior is not helpful. I know it makes her feel like she has done something bad by comming into my life. That is the farthest thing from the truth. When I told her I don't trust emotions this is what I was talking about. I know that adoption has hurt both of us. I know that her hurt goes to the very center of how she feels about herself. I know that it made me feel completely inadequate to be a mother (yes I am one of those who never had any other children). I don't want to let that crap control me. It is past time for me to get over myself and let myself enjoy all the good things she gives to me starting with how incredible it is that she actually loves me despite my bouts of bullshit. Hey, even my grandson loves me and he is a very cool kid. Sure reunions hard hard and very emotional. They are also wonderful. I think I need to remember the wonderful more often and remind her of it. Reunions may not solve everything but I know that it has brought two very exceptional people into my life that I love more than they imagine. I hope she can come to feel the same way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Security and Emotional Distance

About a week and a half ago, I went "home" to my adoptive parents' house. It is not the house I grew up in, since they retired and moved out of state, but in a sense it still feels like "home" to me. I am surrounded by the things I was surrounded with growing up. That beloved Mozart statuette, some of my stuffed animals, my old television. I have my own room and my own bathroom with my own toiletries, my own set of towels that simply gather dust until the next visit. I have not been able to stay in my parents' home overnight for many years, because they don't like having my son spend the night as well and he is usually with me. (I guess he is too noisy for their tastes.)

Those of you that have read this blog have probably figured out that I have a rather distant, strained relationship with my adoptive parents, especially my mother. They have distanced themselves from me, and everyone else in their lives, by their own choosing. They want a simple, quiet existence in their own universe with their own rules. There is not much emotional connection there. On my last visit, I got up in the morning, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat at the silent breakfast table with a crossword puzzle and a few words mumbled while I did the crossword puzzles and they watched CNN. In fact, CNN was on TV all day long, except when we would go out to get lunch or dinner. Afternoons were nap time for them and hike time for me. Otherwise, it was all about my adoptive mother's rules, and me following them. No snacks after 4pm are allowed. I am not allowed to eat anywhere but at the kitchen table. We only talk about what she wants to talk about and only when she wants to speak. The house is....quiet.

It is a rather lonely existence, isn't it? So much like it was when I was growing up, yet even quieter now than it was back then.

Oddly, however, that emotional distance Dare I say it? Here I was, surrounded by little tokens of my childhood (down to "my" coffee cup that I used in the morning), and I felt like I was "home", or at least in a safe zone, even though a psychologist would probably call this house a dysfunctional, toxic environment on so many levels. Perhaps dysfunctional and toxic have become "normal" and "safe" for me.

Meeting my biological family was very different. They have many of the same quiet, unemotional tendencies that my adoptive family has, but they seem genuinely interested in me, my life, and my son. My biological mother and I have these really crazy, deep, emotional conversations that make me feel so wonderful. The more she opens up to me, the more I love it...especially because she is not that way by nature, at least around other members of the family. It made me feel accepted and "special".

What I realized this week is that it also makes me feel insecure.

I used to laugh at my biological mother when she would say she doesn't trust emotion. Now I think I understand it.

Emotion isn't the foundation upon which the bricks of security are laid. Emotion is shaky. It fluctuates. My mother says she loves me. My adoptive mother used to say she loved me too, but I haven't heard those words in a long time. Just as easily as those words are said, they can be taken away.

When I grew up, my adoptive parents were always physically present. Someone was home every day when I went to school and when I came home. I was rarely in an empty house. My parents may not have been emotionally present very often, but man, they were THERE.

My biological mother? She is not "there". She is a voice or an email. She is usually emotionally present, unlike my adoptive parents. But she is not "there". I see her once in a while, when we can manage it. We both have busy lives, other commitments, other people that come first. That's just reality. I am learning to live with that. I take what I can get and what others feel I am entitled to.

I really hate that I can't feel secure with my biological mother. I really hate that no matter how comfortable she and her family try to make me feel, I can't feel it. I really hate that I am more comfortable in a dysfunctional, emotionless household with all my old stuff.

When I searched, I wasn't just searching for genetic similarities or medical information or other socially acceptable stuff that falls into the category of mild curiosity. I was looking for unconditional love. I thought it would make me feel grounded. I thought it would make my biological family feel grounded too.

Well, it doesn't. It ain't about love, I guess.

I was so, so, so wrong.