Bubble: Burst

Well, I finally did uncover one of those boundaries. After blogging about it and talking to my therapist, I decided to go ahead and ask Ruth about whether I could talk more with her about the harder parts of adoption—her answer is that I can, but she’s not sure that it’s appropriate, and she doesn’t actually want to hear it. Her email was polite and respectful, and the undertone of “I guess I can’t stop you, but—” may only exist in my reading of it. I feel sort of crushed, and am pulling back.

Feeling bummed about her answer is my problem; I got my hopes up inappropriately high, and I should know by now how that generally turns out. I’m a big girl.

My reply to her was very short: “I understand what you’re saying, and that makes sense”-style of thing for a couple of hundred words. Oh, and I bought a pair of Robeez for the chest, so clearly I am doing fine.

I mostly feel stupid—I feel like I’m being punished for being stupid.

14 thoughts on “Bubble: Burst

  1. It makes sense to believe that in a true relationship we would have give and take, meaning to share happy things as well as share our grief or difficulties. Ruth may mature enough in her parenthood to be able to hear the true impact this has on you and yet she may never. Everything in adoptionland seems to have special rules that do not apply to a two sided relationship of give and take and this is one of the first you learn in open adoption;~(( You are not wrong for asking.

  2. Well, rats. I asked Pennie about this on Saturday and she said, “That’s kind of your JOB, isn’t it?” meaning me to listen. And I guess I’m with her on that. Which isn’t to say that I think I have a right to her feelings either but that if she wants to share, I want to listen.

    I’m going to write about this more on my blog and also a candy review because, ummm, we kind of inhaled your candy!!!!

  3. ugh that sucks. I’m sorry lady – but I wish you didn’t have to feel stupid. Your question to Ruth was a valid and valuable one, and her response is important information to you. It wasn’t a given that she would have that attitude, some people wouldn’t. So, now you know. And more information isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Also, now Ruth has more information. If she was pretending like everything was fine and great for you, well now she has an inkling that it isn’t like that, as well as permission to open up that conversation with you later if she wants to.

    I am disappointed that she isn’t willing to hear more of that and be a conversation partner with you about the tough stuff – my personal bias is that it would be helpful for her parenting of Cricket as well as cement her relationship with you. But you don’t get to control that part and in my opinion you were brave and right to explore the question with her. You’ve done what you can, and it is a risk to be proud of if you ask me.

  4. Yuck, I’m sorry you’re feeling lousy about this because I don’t think you were being inappropriate. If I can just generalize two comments from the adoption-related situations I’m in right now without making you feel like I’m pressuring you to do anything, one is that the 15-year-old Rowan who will be visiting us again on Wednesday (eee!!) often needs to seem to go through a conversation several times before he gets to the part where he really opens up. So we and his counselor and his social worker may all talk to him about something and it’s only after it’s percolated and he’s had versions of the conversation several times that he’ll feel like he has the freedom or permission or whatever (I have no idea how it feels to him inside his head) to actually talk. I guess I’m just trying to say that No won’t necessarily stay No forever, though of course it might. So you’ve now put this idea out there and Ruth is aware of it, at least it’s now out there for down the road if she ever is willing to be more open about listening. And it’ll be something you and she can tell Cricket if he has questions about these things in the future.

    The other part is sort of complicated, but as you know my partner Lee just heard something about why her birthmother Leah was willing to relinquish rights 45 years ago, and for the first time this lets her make sense of her adoption experience. Before, I think Leah was so desperate to seem nice and non-threatening so that she’d be able to hang onto her relationship with Lee that she didn’t tell Lee the whole truth, and it’s the negative part of the truth (which doesn’t even reflect badly on Leah) that makes the whole thing make sense. Instead for years Lee had been thinking Leah must have been some strange emotionless creature who couldn’t have been maternal at all or she wouldn’t have made the decision she did, whereas now she feels that she understands and respects Leah’s choice and that Leah was trying to do what seemed best for Lee within the constraints of the messy family dynamic at play.

    I know your story isn’t Leah’s, but seeing first-hand how destructive sugarcoating can be makes me all the more sure that it’s rarely the best way to go. (This is something we have to deal with in addressing Rowan’s history too.) But Ruth and Nora are the ones who get to make that decision for Cricket for now. I hope that as he grows and as your relationship grows they’ll be more open to understanding, but I think the most important part is that you are able to own and process your own hurts and feelings so that when Cricket is ready to make sense of that part of his story you’re ready for it too. I, too, think you should be proud of yourself. (But I, too, would have the same emotional response you have. I understand.)

  5. While I don’t think it’s Ruth’s “job” to listen to you (perhaps with Dawn & Pennie they’ve established a rapport and a relationship where Pennie might reasonably expect that of Dawn, and Dawn might consider it in her role and capacity to fulfill such an expectation), I think it’s good that you asked, and also good that she said no. Isn’t that the best you can hope for in this relationship? That she actually feels comfortable saying no, I mean. This way you can be sure(r) that she will always be telling you the truth. I would think that, ultimately, hearing the truth is better than hearing what you want to hear, no?

  6. ((((hugs))))) first.

    Dee is the same way. Well, except I never told her that everything wasn’t hunky dory in adoptionland….she sort of pre-emptively told me that she hoped I had a place to deal with things because she wasn’t a possible partner in that discussion. She basically said that she wouldn’t be made to feel guilty about anything – though that would have NEVER been my intent.

    I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time with this right now, and I know it’s not the same, but if you need to vent, you know my email 🙂

  7. One of the things to be aware of is that your relationship is still so young. It will get easier for you to share your grief and for her to hear it as time goes on. It’s a weird place to hear someone you love is grieving because of something that made you so happy. She may not want to deal with it YET. May be just pushing it to a place she doesn’t have to think of right now. She’s likely begun processing it now.

    You aren’t stupid. I really think you opened a door that will help both of you deal with the grief openly- even if it’s not right now.

  8. I don’t think you were stupid, I think you were really brave to take the initiative like that. I don’t think I would have had the guts! I’m sorry the response was what it was. If nothing else, at least you know she can no longer assume that everything is perfect for you, even if she doesn’t know the particulars.

    Grief can be scary for people to confront, no matter its cause. But that’s all the more reason we need people to be willing to face it alongside us.


  9. I can soooo understand the feeling stupid part. I’m the type of person who berates myself for being stupid if I get someone’s name wrong, so you better believe that if I take a chance and ask a big question and the answer is no, it plunges me deep into “I’m so stupid for even having asked.”

    Despite this self-flagellation, I think I’m actually pretty good at having uncomfortable conversations or talking about sadness and grief and loss. In my experience, a LOT of people are not good at discussing uncomfortable stuff though and, rather than muck through it, they just avoid it. I think it is eminently reasonable for you to have asked Ruth if she was open to hearing about the less-than-rosy aspects of your shared experience. I hope she gets to a place where she is open to that someday. In the meantime, I’m glad that you are so gifted at sharing your thoughts in writing, and I hope you gather lots of strength and support from your readers.

  10. Hi there,

    Just discovered (and read) your blog this evening. First – thank you so much for your candor and for sharing your story.

    I was going to make a comment about this post, but everything I wanted to say was said so perfectly by Lisa V…so I’ll just say “ditto!” to her comment. And also that I look forward to future visits to your blog and to sharing more of your story.

    Best and peace.

  11. Pingback: Is It Our Job? — U.S. Infant Adoption

  12. Knowing yourself and having the courage to take the forward step you did is NOT stupid. It is the OPPOSITE of stupid, and, like Heather said, it’s very brave.

    Ruth’s reaction is beside the point. It sounds like she is not ready to hear about the harder parts of adoption. Right now, anyway.

  13. Pingback: this woman’s work » Blog Archive » Down to the bone

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