In our blood

So I've just finished sending my bio mom a long email describing my Christmas. I had sent her a very short Merry Christmas email on Christmas Eve as I had no time at all to do anything more. Things were VERY busy for me up to boxing day and for the last 2 days my husband and I have been couch/bed potatoes, eating leftovers and taking naps. No desire to write or read emails, do facebook, or really very much computer related activity.

I know I'll get an email back that outlines what she and her family did over Christmas and I look forward to reading it. In my mail I relayed every single thing we ate for dinner and hope that she shares the same info. To me it's interesting to hear about the cultural differences between my family and hers, yes, white Canadian people have cultural traditions too. There are family traditions that I still observe, certain foods and rituals I grew up with that I consider mine, even though I am adopted, not REALLY part of my family. I don't think that tradition or culture is as much in our blood but rather in the familiarity of routine, of doing things that hold memories and/or meaning, actions that remind us of people and times past.

My "reunion" is so unlike anything I read about online. The things people advise to say or to never say are completely wrong in my circumstance. I truly believe if I said how much I love my bio mom or how much I wish she'd never given me up, she'd go screaming for the hills. Maybe these are the kinds of things that are "in our blood". Things like pragmatism and acceptance of things as they are. If I had said those things, I'd have been lying.

One thing I do want to bring up eventually is her telling her kids about me. I want to tell her that if it were me, I would want to know. I would want to know if I had a half sister or brother out there. That I wouldn't be threatened by them, that I'd feel secure in my place in my parent's heart. No "new kid" could diminish me and what I am.

My wanting to tell her this is not because I have a burning desire to meet my half siblings. I would meet them, I get how it might be interesting and how the possibility exists that we could have things in common, that we could end up good friends, but it's more about them, and their right to know. It's about how I would feel if I found out my mom had kept such a secret from me.

But then, who knows these people, these half siblings, better than their mother? It will be her choice to make, I will never force the issue. It's her family, not mine, and I'd be right pissed off if she butted in on my family against my wishes.

But like me, she likely would never. It's not in our blood.


For mothers who have lost a child, an invitation to share

Ever since I wrote this post   I've had people arriving on my blog looking for real answers on what to do for moms who have lost a child. They are increasing in numbers as we inch close to Christmas as the question becomes "what to give mothers for Christmas who have lost a child".

Normally, as in searches on headstones, I feel kinda bad for a minute and then carry on with my life but this is not sitting well with me. I've been there supporting a woman, who just happened to be my mom, that had lost her child, her only boy, her youngest, to a sudden death at the sickeningly young age of 38.

It's impossible to know what to do, what to say, how to deal with Christmas and other holiday times. I don't have the answers, I'm sorry.

What I can do is offer personal thoughts and ideas. I can share respectful, helpful comments from others who have "been there", either as a mom who lost a child or as one who supports a mom or dad who lost a child.

There are two things that stand out in my mind that are concrete things I did for my mom. The first is a poem I sent my mom that suited our circumstance, her relationship to my brother, to me, her life philosophy.

The second is specifically gift related. Growing up I quite often would buy my brother's gifts to my mom or let him go in on gifts that I had purchased. It was no secret, and likely not that uncommon a thing for many siblings to do.

On the very first gift giving occasion after my brother's death I signed the card with my gift to my mom from myself and from my brother, just as I'd done many, many times before. I did it only the once after he died and for us it was just the right thing. My mom was very touched and got why I had done it.

I did it because he is still and always will be a part of us and I know he would care very much about my mom at these times and it was once again like I was doing something for him, for my mom, that he couldn't do himself, but would if he could.

I'm going to ask my mom what she would tell someone to say to or do for a mom who has lost a child, at Christmas or anytime and will put it in the comments.

*edited to supply this link


A question for adoptees or those "who know one"

Just read how it is common occurrence for adoptees to wait until their adoptive parents die before they search for their biological people, their biological identity. I am aware this happens, even "know some" adoptees who did. They're all *ahem* much older than me of course.

Neither my sister or I waited for our adoptive parents to be dead. Most adopted people who have blogs that I read did not wait until their parents were dead. They discuss the issues involving their adoptive parents that come with searching and reunion, things like guilt and pressure, parental insecurity.

Many blogging mothers who relinquished talk about having issues with their child's adoptive parents. That wouldn't happen if the adoptive parents were dead.

It brings me to my question, well, questions.

Did you wait until your adoptive parents were dead before searching for your biological people?

If you're a mom who has a child who was adopted, did your child wait until their adoptive parents were dead before searching?

Hey, if you're an adoptive parent and you're searching on behalf of your child, it means you're not dead! Feel free to chime in as well.



So you're conceived and it's not a good thing. People are freaking out, what are they gonna do? I can picture an entire scenario, worrying about being pregnant and then finding out one is. There are other reasons parents and babies are separated but my guess is for the most part, it's an unplanned, unexpected, and unwanted pregnancy.

So anyway, back to you, you who have been conceived without intent. The people who conceived you do not raise you and you go live with someone else. These people may or may not have other children, in any case, you are raised by them as a ward, they are your guardians. Not mom and dad, just, oh I don't know, Mr and Mrs maybe. Perhaps you are on a first name basis. It's obviously better this way because if some day you meet your mom and dad, it will make them feel better to know you hadn't ever called anyone else mom or dad, had no familial feelings toward anyone else.

It wouldn't be that big of a deal at parent days, or Christmas. It would help with those nasty family tree days at school. You wouldn't be expected to fill in your guardian's roots, you could fill in those of your mom and dad who you don't know or know very well. It may be a small tree with only two branches, but so what? Charlie Brown had an ugly, spindly little tree and he was still able to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

If your guardians had other children that were allowed to refer to your guardians as mom and dad, well, could make it awkward for you but it would be worth it. Your real mom and dad would be sleeping easier at night just knowing you weren't diminishing their role in your life. You wouldn't be going around pretending you actually knew your parents as that would be terribly unhealthy, fog inducing, fake. Unnatural.

I know by now you're only 5 or 8 or 10 years old but there really is no need at all to have a life long legal bond to these guardians who act like parents. You already have a heritage. It would not be good for you to think of the people you actually know as mom and dad.

What's that? You feel like your guardians are mom and dad? Hmm I was afraid of this happening. I wonder what should be done now. We could always move you somewhere else, perhaps it was a mistake finding you a permanent home in the first place. Now what? You don't want to move somewhere else? But we can't have you actually bonding with people who aren't blood related, you already got to bond with someone. Only one bond per person allowed in this life.

Now give me those Christmas stockings you made that say Mom and Dad in glitter. Yes, they are very pretty. We'll put them away for you until you meet your real mom and dad. When? Hard to say.

Maybe when you're 47?


For mothers who have lost a child

I just read a post over on Susie's blog. I commented but decided to write a post on the subject myself. I've talked about this before either in comments and/or posts, but whatever, I think it's important. You can take it, and I know you will, in whatever way you want. Some will be hurt, some will be offended, some will be triggered, and some might just hear and take what I have to say to heart.

Understand it's said with the best intentions, with your alive and present children's feelings in mind.

Here's what I said to Susie.

You know, what I've found in life Susie is that nothing ever stays the same. Yeah, it doesn't necessarily always get better but it also doesn't always get worse.

I guess what I would say to you is accept this less than rosy time, which you appear to be, and know that there will come a time, a day, a moment that will fill you with happiness or excitement or some other feeling that's good.

In the meant time, be careful not to let those you do have in your life, your raised kids, feel like they're less than Christopher. That they aren't enough to make their mom happy at Christmas. That the family you actually do have isn't good enough.

I'm sorry it's this way for you, and even sorrier for your kids if they know it. 

I come at this from the point of view of an alive and present kid, albeit an adopted one who is in contact with her bio mom. I am also the daughter of a mother who has lost a child to death, her baby boy, someone whom I myself miss dearly. My little brother.

I know what it's like to be here and present and it just not be good enough.

My mom doesn't do it anymore. She doesn't make me feel this way, this frustrating mix of hurt and compassion. Compassion for a woman who has lost her child but yet hurt by a mom who can't be cheered, who doesn't embrace what she has left, can't be thankful for at least that.

When my mom did make me feel this way, I eventually told her. It was not when my brother initially died. I, being a mom myself, knew how devastating this was to my parents. I'm the one who had to tell them.

I've been there for my parents really forever and in this things were no different, but after a while it got to a point where it just felt wrong. I was here, my son was here, why were we now no longer enough to bring joy or pleasure? When would we become enough again, the way we were before my brother died? Maybe we just never were as important as he was but I'll be damned if I were going to carry on "being there" for someone who I wasn't good enough for. I missed my brother very much too!

I've come to realize that this conversation can evolve into a discussion on "what's worse", although in my mind there's no comparison. If you feel the need to go there, be my guest, but as a mother of one and the daughter of a parent who has lost a child to death, you'll never convince me it's worse to have a child alive and well that you don't see or talk to enough than to have a child that breathed his or her last breath. That there's no hope for reuniting, no hope for a hug or a touching of hands, no possibility of hearing their voice or even reading an email they've written.

That's not what this post is about though. It's about us, the kids that are still here. Your children who call, who visit, who care, who feel so badly for your loss. Who love you, are dedicated to you, and want you to be happy with what you have. Us.

We know that we can never be or do enough to take away the pain. That this person, who we may love and miss ourselves, holds a power to change the way things were, the way things should be, just by their very absence.

As a mom, I get it. I feel sick at the thought of losing my son. I don't even want to imagine what it would be like. I am so so very sorry for any parent who has lost a child.

As a daughter, I implore you to think about what you still have, and embrace it.

edited to supply this link


I don't know. Would you like me to help you find the answer?

Pet peeve: People who refuse to say, "I don't know."

I don't know about your workplace, but at mine, this happens all the time. It makes me nuts. Soooo much time is wasted. In my experience, there are two ways this usually goes. Here's the first way.

I ask someone a question. Next thing I know I'm stuck listening to this someone talk for an extended period of time, going on and on saying everything BUT the answer to my question. In a work scenario it's not always the easiest thing to disengage from once I finally realize this someone doesn't have a hot clue how to answer my question but just can't bring them self to admit it, to just say the words out loud, "I don't know". Now this is a waste of time, something the non answeree seems to have way too much of, but it's not usually that detrimental. These people are put on the "to be avoided" list when a question needs to be quickly and efficiently answered.

It may sound like a non issue to you, but if one is just looking for some computer paper and it turns into a half hour long discussion that ends with you being just as paperless as you were when you set out to find some, it's friggin annoying, especially if you're in a hurry.

The second way is much more damaging. It's the people who cannot bring themselves to admit they don't know, or don't even know they don't know! Maybe they're new and trying to hide the fact they don't know yet. Quite often these people are in a position of support, providing guidance to the rest of us on actions like purchasing or hiring while navigating their way through ever changing rules and procedure. I get that it's not easy, but, it's their job.

These people can be asked if they're sure the information they're supplying is accurate to which they'll look you right in the eye and answer, yes.

Uhhm..you're sure?


Ok, well, I guess you'd know, but I was just told something else by another person in your department. You're 100% positive on this?


Hmm...weird. Ok. Well, alright. Actually, I looked on the web page of the department we're talking about and it says this, which is different than that other answer you just gave me. What about that? Are you positive about that also?


Wow. Ok. Now you've got me wondering if I should just contact them myself, this all seems a little contradictory. I don't want to make a mistake here...

You can't contact them.

Huh? You sure?


So, you're saying I just have to rely on what you're telling me even though I have information that says the opposite.


Allllrighty then....I'll be off. Uh..thanks.

You're welcome.

 If you're reading this at work or before work, take a minute to practise saying it.

I don't know.

See? Not so bad, right? It's not that hard and in most cases, more helpful to admit it than trying to hide it. And if you get really good at saying it, you can always add to it. Yup! I'm not kidding, and it's not that tough to say either. It goes like this...

I don't know. Would you like me to help you find the answer?