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.


Cristy said...

Sounds like a wonderful time

Being Me said...

"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."

This is so important! I am realizing birthmother guilt is an indulgence that wastes my life.

KristySearching said...

This is so wonderful...

Anonymous said...

One person can't be responsible for one being loved. Don't be so hard on yourself. You made a decision armed with the information you had at the time. You love your daughter now. Move forward and focus on the joys that today and tomorrow bring.

joy said...

Good point Marie, she made the best decision she could with the information she was armed with at the time.

I wish more adoptees, like yourself, could understand this, but I commiserate with you in how hard this is. It took me a long time too.

The Fuzzy Rat Mother said...

I agree that birth-mother guilt can turn self indulgent but I don't think it is about just moving forward. For me, it is about understanding that my nactions have consequences and accepting and understanding those consequences. My bad day was really about comming to terms with that. It doesn't matter whether or not I thought I was doing the right thing. It is about understanding I did the wrong thing. All the excuses/justifications in the world don't change that. I made a bad decision. My daughter was hurt. Until I can really understand that I can't move forward because I would not be able to understand her or myself. We learn from our mistakes. I need to learn. I hope what comes out of this bad day is that I learn to understand why I made that decision. I made the decision but I think I need to not just sit by and watch society continue to give women bad information that urges them to make the same decision. I have learned that adoption hurts. It is past time for me to quit hiding my head in the sand and do what I can to support efforts to change people's minds about adoption being good. What was going on in my head on Saturday was that I have to move beyond my own story and hurt and really understand how my daughter feels and how so many (most?) adoptees feel. It will be a good thing if we can quit focusing on who is to blame and start focusing on what has to change so there is no need to blame. I am just starting down this road and I am not sure where I will go with it.

elizabeth said...

Fuzzy Rat it sounds like you are starting to "get it" and make progress! You have really come a long way in such a short time.

My mother, on the other hand, has had over two decades to try and grasp the damage she did when she (and my father)abandoned me. I wish she had 1/2 the understanding and empathy that you seem to have.

I once tried to explain to her that if she ran over my foot on accident, I would still have a broken foot! And I would still want an apology. And I would want some compassion for my broken foot because it was her fault after all. Intentions mean very little when it comes to abandonment, and broken feet.

It seems such a simple concept. I would think that an educated woman such as my mother would be able to grasp it.

oh, and about what needs to change. I like to keep things simple. I think adoption should be illegal.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Lillie said...

Wow Marie that is profound.

I mean really, why should anyone have to apologize for ripping out their child's soul and stomping it into the ground, right?

Why should they have to apologize for destroying their own child's life, for causing a lifetime of hurt, because hey, they love them now, right?

Jesus I am glad I don't live in your world.


Fuzzy Rat Mom,

I meant to direct my comment to you. I hope in time that if my own first mother wakes up, I would like her to connect with you.

kimkim said...

" If anyone wants to disapprove, they may do so but they need to take it elsewhere. We love her....."

I wish our mothers had been like that when we were pregnant.

I felt guilty for being pregnant, guilty for wanting to keep her and now I can feel guilty for relinquishing her too.

Blame and guilt are not going to change what happened. I am of no use to my daughter if I am not able to move forward.

Again this is a situation of having to do something impossibly hard and feeling like there is no choice. I don't feel like I have any other choice than to let go of anger and blame and shame and guilt and grief. I need to be strong and useful and a good mother for my daughter.

Just for the record I have expressed remorse for what happened, I have sincerely said how sorry I am that this happened.

I don't agree with being a whipping boy for adoption though. People who want to do that or who give patronising comments like " you are starting to get it" are helping. Well intentioned or not.

"Why should they have to apologize for destroying their own child's life, for causing a lifetime of hurt, because hey, they love them now, right?....."

Because they love them now right? That implies that we mothers didn't want or love our children. It's a simpleton view, it's just a lashing out at all mothers and it's not relevant to my situation. Again it's the wanting to make us be the whipping boys.

We were the whipping boys when we were pregnant too.

I don't accept this. This is why I don't want to blog about adoption or reunion anymore. All this misplaced anger going out to mothers who obviously do love their sons and daughters and who don't deserve to be abused.

I'm really glad your reunion is still going strong. Thank you for still blogging, you are a stronger woman than me.

KristySearching said...

"I don't agree with being a whipping boy for adoption though."

I totally get this comment. I feel guilt for losing my daughter to adoption. I am sorry, so sorry it happened. I have loved my daughter every day of her life, BUT (and here's my point) I am a victim of this whole crappy situation too. I don't know even ONE 1st mom who just abandoned her child. Not one, who placed out of anything other than love (however misguided it was). We NOW know about primal wound, etc... but we didn't know then. I know I am talking collective we here, but I feel the need to speak for the many 1st's I know and love dearly.

Okay, so I am tired of being the adoption whipping boy, the "bad guy" so to speak. Just as others want us to understand and respect their pain and sorrow, we just would like the same consideration.


I know for myself that I do not want my natural mother being swamped with guilt. However, I just want her to own up. We all have a part in adoption. For the longest time, it was defined by the adoption industry. Well now we are making the rules. Its rough road. Sometimes we pull them out of our asses. Sometimes we come up with constructive,healing rules. Its hard either way. WE all have to take some personal responsibility for our actions with adoption. My own adoptive mother realizes her naivete in adoption. She is worried that there was coercion and corruption even then. She know what her part in it is. Even natural parents have to take some responsibility as some point. I understand that many of you were coerced. I get that. You still have your part in it. That is the part that many adoptees need to have you own up to. Some mothers did not make the choice at all. One of my dearest friends is one of those. She is just as angry as I am. Adoption in itself is a painful event for all of us without us tearing each other to shreds. Adoptees can't keep going through life being expected to be grateful with both sets of parents. It disenfranchises us.

Julie McCoy said...

I can only speak from my own experience, but I have not seen either my adopted family or my first mother come to terms with my suffering. Instead, they want to go by the "I did the best I could in the situation". That's not good enough for me, so their response? Heads buried firmly in the sand.
Really? If adoption was SOLELY about the CHILD, and the CHILD now confirms it was NOT the best, then why have they all checked out on me?
In the end, they all had an active role in the decision making process (at least more than I did), and they got what they wanted- my mother didn't have to be a single mom to a bi-racial bastard, and my a-parents got to raise a baby.
Meanwhile, I still suffer from horrific abandonment issues, have massive issues with intimacy and am just now, at the age of 35 starting to catch my first glimpse of unconditional love.
You may not want to be a whipping boy, but frankly, after what I've gone through in my lifetime, you're getting off easy......