Chokehold

I’ve really choked on blogging. And it’s for a reason that should have been obvious, but that in fact I had to wait to have a friend point out to me: I wasn’t sure whether I could say something, so I said nothing. I decided, with her help, that I should just go ahead and put it out there: Ruth and Nora were having relationship problems that led to them turning down that placement—to the degree that Nora was considering moving out of their house—but they were working on things, and the situation was much improved by the time I heard about it. Okay, I will blog that and move past my block, talk about the things that are happening now.

And now I’ve found out that Ruth and Nora are splitting up.

Ruth felt terrible telling me—she says that she feels that she has betrayed and let us down, and I guess it’s a good thing that I was the one having our end of the conversation, because Mr. Book says Yes, they did, they are. I don’t feel that way, myself; a terrible thing is happening, and the problems we’ve seen in their relationship over the past few years (and certainly some others we haven’t) have turned out to be ones they can’t solve and can’t live with. I feel bad for all three of them: Ruth, Nora, and Cricket. Ruth talked to me about their plans for coparenting, and they seem very nice but pretty unlikely; they want to get a duplex so they can be a family without being romantic partners. That seems like the sort of thing that works better in theory, or before the parents have new partners—but if they could make that work, that would be great. It just seems like a hard thing to create and maintain for the next fifteen years, give or take. They are not adopting again, either as a couple or singly.

My husband is angry; I’m just sad. I feel like the scales keep shifting for Cricket: now he won’t have parents who stay together, and he won’t grow up with siblings. Not that only children can’t be perfectly happy—I know a couple—but growing up apart from existing siblings seemed to me slightly less sad if he was also growing up with a brother or sister in the same home, with the same parents. Maybe he’ll have stepbrothers and –sisters. I worry about what will happen with Ruth, who is a stay-at-home parent. Surely she will need to work, and Cricket will end up in daycare full-time: probably a less expensive daycare than the one he currently enjoys, but who can say? Maybe Nora will voluntarily pay child support. In the meantime, Nora is moving out, and Cricket doesn’t yet know what’s going on—but his moms plan to show him Nora’s new place and explain that “Abba will sleep here sometimes.”

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22 thoughts on “Chokehold

  1. Wow that’s a hard one…..I hate to see adoptees have to go through a second round of loss like that. I hope that the silver lining of this is that your relationship with Cricket can grow now.

  2. I’m so sorry, Susie. I’m glad that they’re going into this with good intentions to put Cricket first. I hope the split will be the right thing for him in the long run. I’ve known more lesbian couples than straight ones who have managed custody situations similar to what they hope for, though in this economy I’m sure it’s harder than at other times.

    I also wanted to point out that while you’re looking at their shared custody plans you’re able to see that they may or may not work out, but you talk about their unwillingness to ever adopt again as an absolute when I’d think that (barring anything like the kind of felony that would keep them from passing a homestudy) this also falls in the category of intentions that may or may not predict the future. And know that the lesbian stereotype of falling into a deep relationship quickly exists because that does happen and because there’s a certain amount of cultural support for it. So just be aware….

    I know I’ve just written this about them but I feel for you and how your heart must be breaking for Cricket and perhaps your placement decision. I hope this break will end up undoing some of the tensions in their relationship in a way that will benefit him. I’m glad he knows that there are three moms and a dad who love him, whatever else comes next. But I can also see why you were so quiet about this. So sad for everyone.

  3. This situation would also leave me without words. I have thought about you all morning. My heart is broken for all of you.

    I know that there is always a positive to come from a bad circumstance, and I could think of several that could come from this, but for right now, I think there is nothing more to be offered to you right now but empathy for the newest level of loss.

  4. As a fellow birth mom, I’ve often wondered how I would feel if my child’s parents ever split. I’ve been through it with several other birth moms now – you included. I’m so sorry. The sadness may be now, the betrayal that Mr. Book feels may come later for you or it may not. I wish I had some fix-it-all for all of you, but I don’t. Hang in there. I, among your other blog readers are here to offer you emotional support even if we can’t do anything else for you. *hugs*

  5. I’m so sorry that you all find yourself in such a situation. It reminds me of my best friend in high school who placed her daughter for adoption at age 18. She and the baby’s father had broken up and she desperately wanted her daughter to have an active mother and father. Two years later, she found herself pregnant again, quickly married the father, and chose to parent her second daughter. Problems arose and she divorced the father and moved across the country to raise her daughter as a single mother. Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned, but love is stronger than all possible family permutations, and you are in an excellent position to provide Crickent with an example of a strong, stable relationship.

    Out of curiosity — how do you think Ruth and Nora would have handled it if you and Mr. Book split up? It seems that birthparents who stays together, marry, and parent future children are not the norm. Do you think they would have pursued a relationship with both of you individually?

  6. Oh, I’m so sorry for you and Cricket–although glad to hear that Ruth and Nora seem to be considering what he needs as they figure out how to move forward on their end.

  7. Oh I am so sorry for you guys. while it is probably better to be raised by separated parents than by a couple who is very unhappy together, that doesn’t change how much that is not what you had hoped for and imagined for him. Kids don’t have the same expectations as we do and can adapt, but that in no way changes our hopes of what we want to provide and offer and dream for them. Thinking of ya…

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