I have of course read in many books—memoirs and novels, mostly—that becoming a mother means that a piece of your heart lives outside of your body, and runs around doing dangerous things, and occasionally screams at you that you are a fascist. I hadn’t realized that giving a child up for adoption also means that you are gaining a great and permanent vulnerability. It’s not like I sat down and thought about it that clearly, of course. If I had sat down and thought, I am going create a hostage to fortune, and then I am going to send that child to other people where he or she can be used to hold me hostage by even well-meaning parents.
Please don’t mistake me: I’m not mad at anyone but myself. But I’m feeling angry at myself about the adoption today. It just feels too hard right now. If I don’t hear for Ruth for a couple of weeks, I don’t know whether it will ever help to know that it’s probably because Nora’s having crunch time at work, or Cricket’s not sleeping well, or Ruth herself has caught a cold, or the dog has found a bag of peanut M&Ms and everyone had to make a trip to the emergency vet at three a.m. I wonder whether it will always feel like my fault—and I suspect that it will. Of course, there’s always therapy.
I’ve been reading The Primal Wound. Maybe that’s behind some of this. I feel deeply skeptical about Verrier’s theory, while at the same time I want not to be disrespectful of any adoptee who feels this wound in her own heart. But I find myself very frustrated by the book. Of course, the adoptions she describes don’t seem to resemble this one almost at all. The one thing that the book has really done for me is make me think about conversations I imagine I’ll have to have with Cricket in the future, and I just get upset. I think about the not insignificant chance that he’ll tell me to get out and mean it, and I get further upset. I know how pointless it is to brood about this, but here I am.
When I was planning the adoption, I genuinely, 100% believed that there was no loss of any kind for Cricket—he was going to parents with money and dedication who were very prepared to parent in a loving and thoughtful way, he’d have birthparents in the background to answer questions and assure him that he was never unwanted, and he’d just be better off—it seemed very uncomplicated in that way. I thought that the only loss would be mine and Mr. Book’s. I didn’t even see a loss for the adoptive parents, since they didn’t really pursue technological/hormonal solutions and certainly had no expectation of producing their own genetic offspring. I’ve since learned that Ruth and Nora may very well have experienced some loss with the adoption, although they haven’t hinted at that to me. But what about Cricket? Has he really lost anything? In the end, I know that he gets to decide whether or not he has experienced a loss, but if anyone has an opinion from experience, I would like to hear it.