Concrete proof

On my post previous to this one, I was asked to further explain what I meant when I said, "Maybe, just maybe, part of the key to all of this is to have concrete proof that we're important to our biological families before investing emotionally in them, before handing them our hearts."

I guess I'm saying that adoptees who are reuniting and having relationships after years of no or minimal contact should protect themselves from disappointment or pain by assessing their biological/first/natural parents' and siblings' attitudes, perceptions, interest, toward the adoption and the adoptee his or herself before investing (further) in them emotionally. I would think this would also apply in reverse, to parents who have searched and found adopted out adult children.

Having said that, I realize for some adopted people connection and feelings of love aren't things they feel they have control over, so perhaps for them it would be wisest to not get their hopes up too high for finding a familial connection? To be prepared to not have feelings of love or importance reciprocated.

I was also asked what I would call concrete proof that I am important to my bio family. my case, likely the biggest thing would be for my bio mom to tell her family about me. That would say a ton about my importance.

Other things would be asking for photos, interest in meeting my son, quick emails or phone calls when she is busy saying that she's busy without me having to ask if everything is ok.

Oops, almost forgot the other biggie. I think it would be concrete proof that I am important to my biological mother if she told me who my biological father is.

Adopted people reading here, what would be concrete proof to you that you're important to your biological/first/birth parents or family? As always, anonymous comments are welcome.


Relationships with biological family

I've found myself in a strange reunion-relationship with my biological mother. I guess my new terminology for what I'm in is really the relationship, as I've recently been reading a series of really good posts on another blog where the blogger pointed out the reunion is the initial contact or physical meeting and everything thereafter is the relationship. Makes sense to me, my reunion (a word I was never really comfortable with since to me reuniting happens with people who knew each other) has passed and now I am navigating a relationship.

When I say this relationship is strange, I'm not talking about the obvious reasons, I'm talking about being in it yet at the same time observing it, comparing it, reacting to situations within it as not only myself but also as someone who reads about other people's reunions and relationships. I feel like I'm incorporating my life experience and philosophies as well as my observations of how other people describe their relationships with biological family. I look at things two ways, the first being my natural instincts and reactions and the second way is wondering what other people would think about things my biological mother says or does or doesn't do and how they might react or feel.

I wonder at times how different it would be had I not stumbled into the online adoption discussion. Ok, I realize discussion is a far too positive word to use to describe what actually takes place but since that's what I wish it was, we can pretend. And, if you sort through the bullshit and mean girl antics, there is some helpful info to be found, even if much of it is to learn about what not to do, how not to treat people, what not to expect.

I also think about how differently the 48 year old me is reacting in the relationship than the 38, 28, 18 year old me would have. I'm a mother myself of an adult now as well as an adult child to my mother. I've had romantic and platonic relationships, workplace relationships, familial relationships, many many sports team relationships, and have maneuvered my way through a divorced relationship. I've volunteered on a teen helpline, experienced sudden deaths of two very close faily members, and have been the wife and stepmother figure in a blended family for 8 years now. All of this plays a factor in how I look at and conduct myself in relationships I'm currently in, including the one with my biological mother.

I've just experienced a replay of these posts without the phone call. It's once again turned out ok, nobody is dead, and the latest email reply from bio mom is very normal, well, normal to me. As I read it this morning I couldn't help but think about how certain things she'd said would have been hurtful to some other adopted people, right or wrong. They would have come away feeling less important than the kept kids, now adults. They would have come away feeling less important than aunts and uncles, friends and associates of their biological mother. In fact, the whole experience would have left them feeling not important at all and if they had, rightly or wrongly, built themselves up to be an important part of their biological mother's life, I can empathize with how hurt they'd feel.

Maybe, just maybe, part of the key to all of this is to have concrete proof that we're important to our biological families before investing emotionally in them, before handing them our hearts.


Deal With It

What are you doing? Don't you see your actions betray your claims of love? How can you love yet not defend? Why is the joy not a good thing? Why aren't you happy for those who are happy, the ones you claim to love? Why isn't there a sense of relief in simply knowing? There would be if you truly cared in the first place. Can you not see how your behaviour makes it seem like it's all about you?

I'd rather know the truth. My truth may be easier, knowing my adoption was wanted. I don't know how I'd feel if it were the opposite but I know I'd be angry at being made to feel guilty for being ok. If it's really about your long lost child, them being ok would be a good thing. Be honest, it's the pain of being left behind. The pain of knowing it didn't have to be you as mom for things to work out.

What is so wrong with being happy to be alive? To be grateful the roll of the dice came up a winner? A roll of the dice that was thrown on an innocent child's behalf.

Why can't you see how hurtful it could be to dismiss another's reality? To make it about you, to be closed-minded, to stubbornly stick to a script when there isn't one.

You can have your pain and loss. It's obvious, it makes sense. Why must you be blinded by it? Conjure up evil where there is none, exaggerate and make false comparisons. Aren't the real issues enough? Aren't the actual injustices horrific enough for you?

Listen, and learn. Respect and admire. Speak for yourself and allow others to do the same.

There are babies and children who are unwanted. They deserve families. They deserve to have a chance. Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with others.

Why must you set people up for failure? Mislead, misinform. Do you not realize in doing so you grant people the freedom to blame the innocent? To point fingers at their child instead of themselves? Do you realize you're setting other up people's unkept children for disappointment by saying their mothers think daily about them and would give anything to know them? That mothers who reject their adult children are a rarity? That unkept children are the same as the kept children? It's not true for everyone.

You're perpetuating what you claim to be against, the marginalization of unwanted children. It obviously wasn't enough that you wanted your child, if you did. Too many others in your life did not, for whatever reason.

And so your now adult child is fine. You won't believe it though. If they love their parents, this is a bad thing for you. You secretly feel good if they had bad parents. If they say that they had good parents, they are not to be believed. They must be afraid to say otherwise. If they had bad parents and still don't like you, again it's everyone else's fault. It couldn't possibly be you and the things you say and do.

How disappointing it must be to not like the adult your child became, but really, not all that uncommon. You're no different than your children's parents whom you detest. In fact, you may even be worse. It's comical how you blame each other, each using the other as an excuse for the disappointment you feel in this adult you all claim to love but who will never measure up, will never fill the void you are unable to fill yourself. Our kids don't exist to build us up, make us whole, kiss our boo-boos. It's supposed to be the other way around.

Biology doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you got. Nurture doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you created.

You want to support adoptee rights? How about also supporting the right to be ok? The right to be whatever we are, as children and adults. Honour the experience without using it as an excuse to label, to dismiss, to predict, to assume. To insult.

Is your adult child that you didn't raise not good enough for you? Maybe you should look at yourself. Maybe you should look at those who have managed to develop relationships and instead of envying them and dismissing them, learn from them.

My deepest sympathies to all adoptees who search and find nasty, bitter, biological parents who are not happy for you if you made it through ok. My deepest sympathies to all adoptees who got stuck with crappy adoptive parents who aren't happy for you if you searched and found decent, good, biological parents. My deepest sympathies to all parents, biological or adoptive, who have narcissistic, self-absorbed, bitchy adult kids who take advantage and refuse to see how fortunate they are.

Although it angers you to your core that I say it, many of us adoptees are ok.

Deal with it.


Don't forget to remember

I watch some weird tv. The names of shows I watch will be withheld to protect the innocent, namely me. It's funny how there is stigma attached to what a person watches on television, how we tend to look down on each other for what our tastes in entertainment are. I'm as guilty as the next person although I certainly don't have any right to be considering some of the trash I watch. See? I'm judging myself!

Yesterday I was half watching a program discussing kids being mean and part way through my son and his fiancé arrived and sat down with me. I explained what the show was about and added my two cents on an aspect I thought was being missed in talking to the children who thought it was cool to be mean and it's why they were popular. It was my thought someone should be telling this kid that the other kids aren't friends with her because they like her, they're friends with her because they're afraid not to be.

The show fell by the wayside as my son and I began to talk about kids and parenting. We talked about how his desire to be friends with the class asshole(s) was thankfully short lived, that I'd taught him he need never be so pathetic as to need "friends" so badly that he'd put up with anything just to hang with the cool kids. Of course this is much easier when you have a home where you're loved and feel safe, a place to forget for a few hours the evil deeds of school peers. Yes, he did suffer through this age of constant contact with social media but I was savvy and aware and monitored his online behavior as well as that of his "friends".

As we talked, a child of six years was discussed on the now ignored program, a gorgeous little kid who doesn't listen at all to her mom. Time outs, spankings, yelling etc. be damned, this kid was having none of any of it. As we semi watch, my son (half)jokingly asks his fiancé and myself if it would be so wrong to just tie a kid like that to a chair to which we responded with a resounding YES it would be wrong, which led to talking about what I did with my son when he was little.

I was never a mom who went to someone's house and asked them to childproof their home. It was my job to watch my son, to tell him "no" and remove him from whatever had caught his eye. I remember being at my mother-in-law's and feeling exasperated, feeling like I'd be doing this for the rest of my life. I'll never forget her supporting me and encouraging me to stick with it, that it would pay off eventually, and it did.

I asked my son if he remembered my taking his doorknob out of his bedroom door. He didn't remember and asked how that wasn't like tying a kid to a chair. I explained that it was a consequence he knew would happen if he came out of his room for the seventh time and that there was a big difference between free reign of a bedroom and physical restraint. I've never believed in forced sleep because I remember how I hated that as a kid, laying in bed wide awake for hours. I did have 'bedtimes' for my son but what that meant was him in his room with a book or listening to a bedtime tape with the only expectation being that he stay in his room and sleep when he was actually ready to. When he was very small but first in a real bed, he, like most kids, would continue to come out for this reason or that. I would get the first glass of water, chase away two or three boogeymen, enjoy two or three more hugs and kisses and then I'd lay down the law. "This is the last time you are allowed to come out dear. If you come out one more time, I will take the doorknob so you can't." Of course he had to test it, it happened, and that was it. Consequence laid out, enforced, and as a result, believed. It was up to him to make the decision about whether or not his doorknob was intact or not.

The three of us talked a bit more about parenting strategies, things we thought were cool and things we thought were not so cool. My son talked about how now when he looks at the things kids struggle with it seems like they should just should know better than to succumb to peer pressure or push matters until their doorknobs are removed, and because of that maybe his fiancé should do all the parenting of any kids they may have in the future.

Hell no, we both said, kids need both their patents to be in on the action. Hey, I asked my son, have you forgotten to remember what it feels like to be a kid? I've always taught you how important that is. That although kids' problems may seem trivial or silly to adults, they are very real and as much if not more of a burden because kids are just learning to problem solve.

Oh no, he replied, for sure I remember, it's just that it seems sort of separate now from what appears obvious.

I tell him not to worry. As long as he doesn't forget to remember what it feels like to be a kid, he'll be a great dad.