Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reunion Thoughts. The Post in which I lose all my Friends


Your blog has calmed some of my secret fears - that K will resent me
for taking him away from his birth family at some point. I have
clarity in that I will be able to tell him that he was going to be adopted, most
likely by a white person or persons, and that I was lucky enough to be matched
with him. I'm adopted, for Christ's sake, and I know that a child can be
completely attached to a non-birth family - even though I didn't achieve this
with my adoptive family but that was their failing not the adoptive relationship
at work. But there's a fear in me that one day K will reject me and
identify more with what he missed then what he has. I will have no problem
honouring and supporting his grief around that separation;
it is more his
rejection that I fear. I don't think I had allowed myself to voice this fear
until reading about Greg's clear attachment to you (you are his mom, you and Shelby and the other kids ARE his family) stilled it somewhat.

A (adoptee/amom)- email

This is a post that's very difficult to write. A post in which I am choosing total honesty, from my perspective, while at the same time realizing that my words may hurt people I love and respect. There are so many in this adoption world I know and have learned from. So many voices that have taught me much. First parents, adopted adults, other adoptive parents who are my friends. So as I lay it bare today, please know that I am choosing this to put a voice to the secret and inner fears of many adoptive parents, but am not trying to attack anyone who thinks or feels differently. And to those who may think or feel that my secret thoughts are wrong or offensive, I am sorry for any hurt they cause you, but I am fallible, human and trying to be transparent so that others can learn and maybe be better for it.

There was a point on our trip that I actually said out loud "SCREW YOU INTERNET". Screw every person who ever belittled my motherhood. Who called me an "abductor" or an "adoptress". Who told me my sons could never REALLY bond with me. Who instilled a deep, even unacknowledged fear that I could never be a real mom to my sons. Screw the people who said we weren't really a family. Who forced me to defend my children's relationship to each other. To ME. To their Dad.

I am angry at myself for letting those words seep in to my soul. The foundation of my motherhood. My womanhood. For having to make a conscious decision to face those secret fears. Its not "your" anonymous opinion I have EVER cared about, but you made me question my sons' opinion of me.

I KNEW how I felt about my sons. That my love for them was the same as my love for the sons I birthed. I knew that MY bond to them was unmoveable. I knew my committment level to them was lifelong and miles deep. You random internet people have dared question me on that, but I knew. I KNEW. You could never, ever shake MY love for my boys.

But you placed fear in my heart of my sons' view of me. And for that I am angry. I am angry because it was wasted fear. Wasted times I have worried. Wasted energy that I could have spent simply BEING their mom. The mom they needed. The mom they needed to heal. The mom they needed me to be.

We can carry the weight of a loving, complex, imperfect, flawed family. And we are better people for knowing our roots and having known the people that helped make us who we are.

L - email

I have never denied the need for openness if at all possible. The need for adopted children and adults to know and have a relationship, if at all possible, with their first families. The need for open records. The hole that some adoptees feel that can sometimes never be filled. I dont deny attachment issues (heck we've lived them). I don't deny that there is abuse in all sorts of families, including adoptive. I don't deny that there are some really crappy parents out there who don't try to understand the needs of their children through adoption. And I certainly don't deny that some adoptions are completely unnecessary.

But hear me loud and clear internet. Listen to me because I am not going to ever bother to explain or justify again.

I SAW in my son's eyes on this trip I AM, without a shadow of a doubt, his mom. A REAL mom to him. Never again will you instill in me fear that I am not enough. That I have or will inevitably fail him. That he doesn't love me, or need me, or that I am a poor substitute. We ARE a family.

I hate what I let you steal from me. I hate that I let you create in me an insecurity that didn't need to be there. Never again, dear random internet people, will I believe your lies.

And more importantly, neither will my son.

8 comments:

Regina said...

Hey Jen. Rock friggin on. Well said.

Regina (still your friend).

Anonymous said...

Jenn...those that truely "know" you also know that you are an incredible mother, making daily sacrifices for your boys. They also know that your boys love and respect you, all four of them. (of course when you take the Wii or IPods away they may balk a wee bit)They also can see and sense the bond you share with them and they with you. I question just how well someone truly knows you personally and is a friend to you if they need to question any of that. Perhaps that comes from their own fears?

Coming from someone who loves you, Shelby, and your four amazing sons, there is no reason to ever, ever doubt your family relationships and bond, it is there, it is solid and you have done everything in your power to make it stronger, every day. You are a family, you are their mother and husband and never can or should anyone take anything from what you have. To your boys you are mom, period and that is because you ARE their mom, no matter what fancy vocabulary anyone tries to attach to that title, you are mom, period. Not because you call yourself that or the boys call you that, or because you have assumed that title, but because you are their mother. This is not a one way street, I mean, this is not something you have fabricated out of nothing, it has been a constant growth and strengthening of a bond between you, Shelby and your sons.

People that don't know you have no idea what you have gone through and overcome and are still going through in your life. Therefor they cannnot judge and should not judge. They have not walked in your shoes, they don't "know" your children the way you do. You have overcome things that most could only dream about (well perhaps nightmares would be more accurate). You know what those are, you have lived your life, no one can say they have walked in your shoes. No one knows your sons like you do and no one can know the true extent of the bond they hold with you. We can see the bond and feel the bond and know it's there, but you are the only one who knows it's intricacies, it's passion, it's everyday-life.

I watched as you took your son, a fine young man, a young man coming into his own, maturing, no doubt. I watched as you took him to meet his birth family. You took him by your side, to guide and support. Wow! Hats off to you my dear. I honestly was fearful as you headed off, not because of anything you or Greg were or did or didn't do, just the unknown of it all, my own fears. I trusted that you know your son better than anyone in the world, and you do. To see you guide him through this was incredible, you are strong. He is strong.

Anyone who doubts your sons' bond to you or questions that, obviously does not "know" them. I told a friend the other day that when you came home from that trip I saw something special. I saw a strengthened bond between you and Greg, the way you just seem to know what the other is feeling/thinking I sensed something special. That in and of itsef shows me, just how strong the bond was to start with, for you to go through this experience together and to have it strengthen that bond, tells me just how much Greg needs you and honors you and loves and respects you. You could have feared that this would pull him away from you emotionally, but no, you knew it wouldn't, you know Greg, better than anyone else in the entire universe. Take it to heart, each time he says, "mom, I'm hungry" (and we know that is often), "mom,mom"...to him you are mom, because that is who you are, you are his mom. He has proven that to us all, shame on those who doubt this, shame on you. For Gregory to come to you for comfort, to open his heart to you, to TALK with you, to share, to trust you, .....he is a 13 year old boy, an introvert, these things are huge and I can only hope that my own sons at 13 will honour, love and respect me the way he does you. You have done an amazing thing for your son and you should take pride in that. You have given him answers to his burning questions, you have provided him opportunity to learn about the people that brought him into this world. As he matures, he will respect you for that and so should we.


You have not lost THIS friend,

love your sister, aka Auntie Jess.

Anonymous said...

Your blog was clearly about what happened in your son's life and your life with reunion.

It wasn't a synposis of other adoptive parents' lives.

A blog is not about every adoptive parent in the woooorld.

A true friend would have seen that and loved you unconditionally and owned that, instead of blaming you for their own insecurities.

Always gonna be your friend, period, end of story.

Love,
Adrienne

Ann said...

Jen, I can't thank you enough for bringing me with you on this difficult and important journey. I have cried from deep in my heart more than once while reading your blog. Today's entry brings a few tears of relief, that I can join you in letting go of the fear that I can never be enough of a mother to my son. You are my role model - if I can be half the mother to my children that you are to yours, I will rest easy.

ourboysourlives said...

OK so jump right in right...that is what you did and the horse out of the gate made me open wide my eyes...I know what you speak of....I live what you speak of...I came to the reality that you did not all that long ago...it is not a race thing it is not an age thing it is not a religion thing...it is a mom who adopted thing. It is a child who was adopted thing and it is a mother who relinquished thing...they are separate but equal. I think that sometimes we loose ourselves in trying to see the whole picture...when we need to put us first...

YOUR FRIEND still I know call me crazy

Stacey said...

Jen,

Thank you for blogging about your visit and allowing me to experience part of the journey with you. Your honesty has really helped me deal with my own insecurities. I know I can never be everything to my children. They have birth families who are an important part of them. But for the first time I feel like although I can't be "everything" I can be "enough". I don't know if that makes any sense to you, but it was an eye opener for me.

Thanks again for sharing your story.

Many Hugs,
Stacey J.
TDKOL

Stacy said...

HA! Take THAT, anti's!

::does awkward karate kick in the air::

Anonymous said...

Jen, you and Shel have built a beautiful family from the heart.

-Larisa