Re:

I stayed up all night and wrote (and sent) a long email to Ruth. After getting a couple of emails from her that really didn’t sit right, I had just sent a “That date works, anyway bye” kind of email (uh, slightly more tactful than that one), and then announced that I was never writing back ever, and that she’s not invited to my birthday party. The problem was, in part, that the only response I had to her emails was pretty rude, and I can’t imagine it being helpful to actually send that kind of response. But she had raised an issue that it seems important to address at least at some point—she thought that we might be stressed about how our relationship is going to change. So I decided to write an email that was about what’s going on and also wasn’t really a response to hers. When I emailed her about the pregnancy, I was careful to sound extremely positive about it; I was trying to give her cues on how to react, which she didn’t really go for. So this time, I didn’t worry about sounding positive, and I don’t think that I did. I’m going to put some of the highlights up on this site because I’m looking for feedback: probably should have done that before I sent it, but that’s just not how I roll.

“I think that our situation is definitely going to change, and I wonder what that will look like. The pregnancy is bringing up again some of the grief I have over Cricket, and that’s hard and weird, as much as I’m looking forward to the baby. I’m not going to take that out on you, and I have no intention of closing the adoption, but it’s eating up a fair amount of my emotional energy right now. I guess I feel like part of not taking it out on you will involve not talking as much while I’m pregnant, if only because I’m so preoccupied by the stuff that isn’t your problem. And of course things will get a little more complicated logistically once we’re four parents of little kids trying to set up a meeting, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

I also asked what her ideal adoption would look like, emphasizing that I’m not trying to change our agreement or hint that major changes need to be made, but that I asked my husband last week and found out that he and I have pretty different answers, and neither of us has the same answer that we did when I was pregnant with Cricket. Funnily enough, the biggest difference was something I would not have expected: when I asked how many visits he would want, ideally, he said “They should visit us once a month.” When he asked me, I admitted that I was thinking more like once per season—and I prefer visiting them up north to having them come here.

Now that I’ve sent it, I feel pretty good. I don’t think I’ll hear back this month, as they are pretty busy, but before I felt like I would have to write the next email, and now it’s not my problem anymore. That’s a less than gracious sentiment, huh?

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11 thoughts on “Re:

  1. I think that sounds good, honest. And very interesting how different Mr. Book’s take on “ideal” is.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you and Ruth, actually. My first response to her less-than-welcome overtures was to feel pissed off for you, but then I tried to think about it from her perspective.

    It is really important as an adoptive parent, at least for me, to be able to really believe that I became the parent of my child because that was the only/best option for that child. This is the case because I believe that children should stay with their natural parents if there is any positive way for that to happen. I imagine (may not be true but I imagine) that Ruth feels the same way, that it is important for her to believe that relinquishing Cricket was the only real option for you. Otherwise, she took someone else’s child and that isn’t something an ethical person can live with easily.

    So I imagine there is a part of her that does not want to perceive you and Mr. Book as stable and ready to parent a child. She needs to work on some stuff, I would imagine (I know, lots of projecting here) in order to let this pregnancy be what it is and not feel like it is some sort of commentary on your last one, the one where you were carrying the child that she is parenting. Also, she may try to be involved the way a more experienced and slightly overbearing friend would – to offer parenting tidbits and couples advice on the big change. Not appropriate probably, but a kindly impulse perhaps.

    Also interesting is that I think you are starting to see this pregnancy and this child as shifting the power balance in your relationship with Ruth and Nora. I could write more on that but I don’t think I will this time.

    Good email. Good owning of your own power to be honest and real. In the long run I can only see that as being helpful for everyone. ♥

    • I can’t say it any better than this. While I do find Ruth odd, Alissa’s comment does shed some light on how Ruth may be feeling. I totally agree about the ethical dilemma.

      I am proud of you for being honest with her/them. You needed to be and have provided an opening for growth in your relationship.

  2. What jumps out at me from your email is the word choice: you’re not going to ‘take it out’ on her. Did she use those words to suggest that you were going to take something out on her? Those words seem kind of loaded.

    • Honestly, that could be one place where I just failed to notice that I was showing my frustration with her. =/ Also, though, I know that she doesn’t want to hear about any of my angst, and I want to be respectful of that–I was trying to say “Hey, there is angst going on, but I’m not going to try to work it out with you–I just want to explain why I’m seeming more distant/distracted.” Bleh for word choice.

  3. I don’t know why this exchange prompted a memory but it did & it’s this: when our second guy was born, our babysitter quit. I think she was jealous of the baby. He took time from our (babysitter’s & mine) relationship & intruded upon her relationship with her beloved toddler boy (my first). She was moving anyway, & had she stuck it out all would have been fine, but just to say that these transitions are so loaded & beyond for those you’d expect them to be!

    It’s brave & wonderful & honest to let/acknowledge that ideals change & that we don’t all have the same ones; like how much sex is ideal for a married couple? So often two answers…

    I think you did the right brave thing & should not worry too much about word choice or anything; you signaled how huge this process of being pregnant is & how committed you remain to Cricket & to them. There’s time & space for the rest.

  4. I just wanted to toss out here that if you ever wanted to give Ruth my number (not connected to my blog — I used to live in Portland so we could definitely come up with a reason we know each other) just to talk about how we’ve handled Roscoe’s arrival. I don’t know — I would be happy to talk to her and wouldn’t give up any internet secrets.

    • I really appreciate the offer, but I think she’d be very wary. If if comes up, though, I might offer to try to connect her. Thank you!

  5. I am so, so glad to hear that you’ve been able to tell Ruth and Nora a little of what you are experiencing, Susie. I think you did a lovely job. I think you were respectful of their previously expressed desire to not hear about “the hard stuff” without pretending that this time is without challenge for you. I hope that they can really think about your words and begin to reply with more respect for your feelings.

  6. I’m so glad you emailed her and were able to express yourself. I think a little honesty will go a long way, or at least I hope. it needed to be said. go you!

    as for alissa’s comment above, I would hope that ruth is insightful and respectful enough — though I realize that might be in doubt — that she could recognize how circumstances in your life can change that would affect your “readiness” to parent. it may just be a self defense mechanism (as alissa suggests re: the ethical dilemma), but I think it would be rather condescending and inappropriate for her to question your readiness now. clearly your options when cricket was born were different then.

    I’m just glad you are allowing yourself the space you may need as you process what must be some pretty complicated emotions.

  7. Pingback: A+A=Insight « Endure for a Night

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