A Credit to Her Sex

After thinking about Ruth’s email and reading the conversation over at Dawn’s blog for a couple of days, I’m left with one conviction: When, in a prebirth matching relationship, you are all answering the question “What would your ideal open adoption look like?” the answer is probably “I have no earthly idea.”

Okay, that’s hyperbolic, but in many ways I did have no idea. I certainly didn’t feel like a mom when we were writing up our open adoption agreement, and I spend those months afraid that I would do something to scare Ruth and Nora off. They were my only plan. I didn’t know that visits would be hard, and I also didn’t understand that I’d miss him. I certainly had no idea that some nights I’d wonder what it would be like to have him sleeping next to me, between us. I knew that I wanted to name him; beyond that, I think I could have been pushed pretty far. Figuring out what I want over a year into the relationship kind of sucks—my consolation is that what I want will probably keep evolving, as will the wants of Cricket’s moms.

In the meantime, I do worry that our relationship is going to suffer a bit. My natural inclination (which I’ll fight whenever I feel up to it) is to pull away—not to email as often, not to ask about the next visit. I think it would be best if I can go on as if nothing has changed…and in a way, nothing has changed. I don’t see them as quite perfect anymore, but as I said to Mr. Book last night, that just leaves them as really excellent. I think I wanted to see them as perfect in part because of story women making an adoption plan get told: if I can’t parent because I wouldn’t be the perfect mom, I really need to pick the perfect adoptive parents for my son. I suspect that those Platonic PAPs don’t exist, but there are a lot of wonderful people out there, and wonderful is surely good enough.

I talked to my mother, and she asked me to get pregnant again. The first time my parents asked me to replace Cricket was three weeks after his birth—I keep kvetching about this, but it keeps coming up. =/ My therapist said on Monday that she thinks that it’s reasonable of my mom to keep asking for a grandchild because she lost one. I think this may be my week to stop feeling sorry for myself (for a bit) and try to see from other people’s points of view.

I do feel a bit self-conscious; I done got linked, and now people new to my little blog are seeing me not at my best—this entry is being written under the influence of no sleep (again). It’s also hard for me to disagree with people in a dialogue; don’t get me wrong, I do it, but I get anxious and broody about it. I try to explain that I was hurt by what you said, yes, but that doesn’t mean I think you were wrong, or wrong to say it; that I feel that I’m being made to stand in for positions I consider but don’t necessarily advocate for; that I’m just thinking out loud here, and I don’t want to bother anyone. But after all that, I am what I am and I’ve said what I have.

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12 thoughts on “A Credit to Her Sex

  1. Sheesh–you’ve got your therapist suggesting you try to get Cricket back and your mom wanting you to get pregnant again? No pressure there, is there, amidst all the other emotional stuff you’ve got going on? Wow.

    It does start making you feel really vulnerable to know that others are reading you, doesn’t it? For what its worth, I admire your honesty here AND your writing voice, and hope that you don’t back down from this–I think you’re bringing out some GREAT topics and dialog for all of us, regardless where we fall in the adoption relationship. I’m glad you’re here, sorry that you’re going through some very hard things, and am grateful to be learning from you.

  2. if I can’t parent because I wouldn’t be the perfect mom, I really need to pick the perfect adoptive parents for my son.

    This is HUGE statement and for me resonates in nearly every aspect of adoption.

    Imagine if we told expectant moms that there is NO perfect parent, not them, not the strangers they are considering giving their children too. Imagine if we told them that adoptive parents are human not seated at the right hand of their own god and that they make mistakes and get divorced and abuse and are no different than expectant mothers – over the long term.

    Powerful stuff you are talking about here.

    Separately, it took me nearly 13 years to consider getting pregnant again after I surrendered my daughter. I felt I did not deserve it, it was disloyal to her, not to mention I was still convinced I was not mother material (even thought I got my income to six figures, had a huge house, a good job, a husband..inside I was convinced I was still the trashy whore that could not be a mome). Tough tough stuff.

    Massive hugs to you.

  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing some heavy processing, and that is so good, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. Imagine (or don’t, actually) the internal havoc that would be wreaked if you weren’t getting this out of you right now.

    And (whether this is an objective of yours or not, I don’t know) you are contributing to everyone’s (including all the new readers) better understanding of adoption and what it means and how it plays out, (in much the same way that Jenna and Dawn do) which of course is greatly helped by your authentic and effective writing style/voice.

    Your post and Dawn’s post and the comments and dialogue on both I think represent an incredibly important and valuable conversation, and I am sure all who read it have come away with (and are probably still processing) a deeper and better understanding of adoption. It certainly has done that for me.

    I wish I could say that noone is going to judge you (based on what you present here on your blog), but I can only speak for myself on that one. I would hope that noone who comments makes you feel as if you are being judged; and if that should happen, I hope you can remember that their judgment is much more about THEM and not necessarily about YOU, and that you don’t let it get to you.

  4. I’m starting to get mad at your therapist. 😛 One of my best friends is a therapist, though, and he says that when his clients get mad at him it is sometimes a good thing. Anyways, I’m glad that people have found you because your blog is amazing. You’re honest and clear about your experience here and its something that the people who want to read about adoption on the internet should see. ♥ I hope you get some sleep soon.

    • She’s awfully confrontational–I hope that it’s all part of a master plan, but I’m feeling a bit frustrated, obviously. Oh, well!

  5. I for one have read through your entire archive and feel grateful for all the processing you do here – there’s so much I recognise from the time when being part of a first family consumed me daily, and there’s so much that I don’t recognise but that I need to think about!

  6. I’m awfully grateful for your blog if for no other reason (and there are a lot of other reasons) that you are a really good writer and it’s a pleasure to read you.

  7. First – thanks so much for the thoughtful comment that you left on my blog. I really appreciated it!

    I’ll echo Dawn’s sentiments and add that I appreciate you willing to put yourself out there by telling your story. What you are experiencing obviously isn’t easy, yet you write about it so well and with such candor. I’ll look forward to seeing how things unfold for you, Mr. Book, Cricket, Ruth, Norah, your pesky therapist and your folks (assuming that you kep on processing here…)

    One last thing – I hope you won’t let anyone in your life pressure you into parenthood until you and your hubby feel that you are both ready.

    Best and peace…

  8. Interesting that your mom asked that; it’s very rare that we on the adopting end hear how grandparents feel about loss in adoption. I met a lovely, lovely woman this summer whose grandson was placed for adoption due to the extremely young age of her son and her son’s girlfriend at the time that they conceived a baby. Although she was in favor of the adoption, the loss was so painful for this grandmother that she herself immediately conceived a child as if (her words, and in hindsight) to fill that hole left in her heart. She even arranged it so the child she bore would match the placed grandchild racially. That was my first introduction to the depth of feeling that might be involved for grandparents. And there are probably very few places grandparents can share those feelings–as little as most of us on the adopting end know about the loss first moms feel, we know even less about first grandparents’ feelings. And hearing it is valuable; thank you for sharing it.

  9. Thanks to everyone–I’m taking “tired” as an excuse for not responding more directly, but I am reading carefully and appreciating what everyone has to say. I don’t think I’ve been attacked, I’m just a bit spooked by the spike in my numbers. I’m sure it’ll all be back to normal soon. 😉

  10. Susie, that’s the trouble with Dawn; she drives wild traffic spikes! And she’ll eat all your candy and not share it with anyone if given the chance, I bet, so you’re lucky Pennie was around!

    I just wanted to say that last night before bed our kiddo was up writing in his journal and he wanted to talk to me about a couple of deep topics relevant to his life and pain. When he told me he was finished with asking for advice, I complimented him for thinking so much and so hard about what’s right and what he can do to make himself better. Then I asked whether thinking so much is sort of a good and bad thing, and we agreed that it was but that it was necessary anyway and the only way to get to good things. I woke in the night realizing I’d been thinking about you and the pressures on you, too. You’ve got pretty much everyone involved (Ruth, your mom, your therapist, your internet people) telling you how to feel and what you could do, and that must make things even harder on you. It might still be a good thing in the end, but I’m sure it’s dificult now.

  11. i’ll second what dawn said. i’ve been reading you for a while now — no comments b/c i’m an introvert even on the internet! — and i am very grateful for your blog. you are thoughtful, and honest, and a terrific writer. i’d put you up there with dawn on my list of “best adoption bloggers.” just wanted to let you know. (and now, back to lurking.)

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