I Dropped the Bomb

Well—I sent the message. Nora and Ruth each responded; Ruth’s response came first, and I was enraged after reading it. It was incredibly condescending in tone, and parts of it seemed to be written for a lawyer rather than for me (e.g., pointing out that they don’t have to visit every twelve months, but once every calendar year—when I had never suggested that they had missed a visit, but complained that they kept telling us that they would let us know when they want to visit “soon” but that it’s been four months’ worth of “soon”). She said that they have done things to show us that we are important, and it’s unfair to say that we aren’t a high priority for them. Nora’s message made me feel a bit guilty, and made me feel as though I have to try to work things out—the difference was mostly in tone, but left me and Mr. Book deciding to just have as little contact with Ruth as possible without trying to pull away from Nora or Cricket. I wrote back to them, and since I was writing back to two messages that I wanted to respond to very differently, the tone of my email shifted quite a bit from the beginning to the end.

Excerpt from early part: “And maybe I never would have gotten to this point if I didn’t know other people in better open adoption situations. So when I say that we aren’t a high priority, I am saying it as someone who has seen what it looks like when the birthparents are, not just because we didn’t get copies of pictures for a year and a half.”

Excerpt from near the end: “I’m making fall sweaters for the boys, now, and I don’t know whether Cricket ever tried his on, or hates red, or hates sweaters, or whether it didn’t fit at all—so I don’t know whether to make him one. When we sent dates in a Christmas package, you never told me whether Cricket tried them, or liked them, or thought they looked too much like bugs, or isn’t allowed to eat dates. I don’t assume that you’ll be attending the boys’ birthday parties, but you don’t even let me know that you got the invitations. I’m not looking for rosie sunshine responses to the things we send, but I hate that we are sending them into silence. (Although you did tell me that he liked his birthday present this year, and I really appreciated that.) I have a hard time reaching out to Cricket, and this is one of the easiest and clearest ways for me to try to show love—and it practice, it ends up being really discouraging.”

And I’m responding to Ruth in that first portion, and Nora, mostly, in that second one—although I didn’t call it out that way. No response to that message yet—except that Nora sent me a really beautiful picture of Cricket that I will post behind a password. Based on what Ruth has told me about the breakdown of the other relationships in her life, I will not be surprised if my refusal to agree that we are a high priority and that she has been awesome and that her problems are the only important problems means that she’s more or less done with me. Instead, I pointed out tartly that she is not the only one going through a hard time, and that since I have no idea when anyone’s hard times will be behind her, I am not willing to wait until that unknown date to express my discontent.

Mr. Book isn’t thrilled. He supports me unconditionally, but he will put up with just about anything to have as much contact as possible with Cricket—and I finally said I’m not willing to do the same, that I just can’t handle it on top of everything else right now. Of course, I want some kind of closure, which is idiotic. But it is an incredible relief to have just said: Hey. This sucks. I do not like it. And I’ve made myself a promise: I never have to talk to Ruth on Facebook chat ever again, unless someone is in the hospital.

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11 thoughts on “I Dropped the Bomb

  1. Oh wow. So sorry it’s come to this 😦 Ruth’s response sounds really discouraging, but perhaps predictable.

    It doesn’t sound like Nora wants to close the adoption, if she followed up with a photo — fingers crossed that perhaps she will choose to bring Cricket to see you guys. Alone!

  2. I also hate that it’s come to this, for so many reasons. I’m glad that you let them know the world does not revolve around them alone and expressed your discontent. hopeful that you got a nice photo, but hoping the response is greater, as well.

  3. The bit you quoted from the end of your note? That, to me, is the crux of the issue.

    It’s not that they are or are not sticking to an agreement, or that they’re not willing to pin down a date for a visit or whatever. Those things could all be explained by busy schedules, difficulty coordinating, time sort of slipping past while you’re not looking – not excusing the behavior, but it happens.

    But you explained very well, I think, your feeling that you don’t know *anything* about whether the things you are doing for Cricket – making him sweaters, sending him dates, whatever – are appreciated. At all. And *that* is just flat-out rude. And…something else that I can’t quite put my finger on to describe.

    There are people in my life – dear people I love very much and who are a priority in my life – whom I haven’t been able to pin down times to see in recent years. We miss each other on the phone & so don’t talk as much as we’d like, etc. But if one of them sends something for my kids, they at least get an e-mail telling them how much the kids love it. And probably a picture showing the kids enjoying whatever they sent.

    As an outsider, that’s the part that bothers me the most about all of this – that you are making this effort to be involved in Cricket’s life in a tangible way (an effort I would give my left arm to have my children’s first mother make, incidentally) and they’re not acknowledging it at all. It’s almost as if they’re *trying* to discourage you from making that effort because short of directly asking whether he likes the things you send you get no feedback at all, and of course that’s going to make you leery of sending anything else.

    I’m just so frustrated for you in all of this. It sucks on so many levels… xo

    • Yes. This is so spot on.
      I have a very ugly, painful immediate family. After that, there is an aunt who enables my ugly family. She is silent to me, and treats me like crapola, even though I’m the victim of violence here. Not them. Anyways- my point- she sends my children gifts. And even though it is more painful to receive these packages, than to just have nothing, I thank her. We send thank you notes. Nothing over the top, maybe a Postagram with the kids’ photos, interacting with the gift, or describing something cute they did with it. But even in this pain, I have manners. It’s awful to make your Cricket lovely gifts and they don’t thank you. Rude, rude, rude.

  4. I am so glad that you are feeling some relief, even though I know this is hard and there’s no sense of closure or where this is going. I’m glad Mr. Book is in your corner, as always.
    I’m not surprised that Ruth responded defensively. That’s okay. But I’m happy you’re not going to get roped into another marathon fb chat. Even if you felt a little guilty after hearing back from Nora, maybe that’s all right if that means she shared some information about what’s going on with her.

  5. I’m sure you spent a great deal of time thinking about those letters. The parts you posted sounded honest but diplomatic. I do hope you are able to move forward with Nora. Immediately sending the photo seems like a small but important gesture.

  6. You are doing an amazing job communicating about hard stuff and defining your boundaries–that’s so important. I hate that it’s all necessary, of course….and hope that Nora, at least, manages to change her behavior so that Cricket’s connection with you isn’t damaged.

  7. Not that you need anything from me, but I’m really proud of the way you are handling this — with self-reflection and mindfulness. Which are, sadly, two things Ruth seems to have unfamiliarity with.

    May your boundary setting and clarity with Nora lead to a truly open-hearted relationship. Her heart seems more cut out for this.

    Even though you are still in the middle of resolving this episode (still having back-and-forth communications), I do hope that speaking your piece feels liberating and empowering.

    Also, as you know, this is a marathon and not a sprint. This may be just a particularly difficult chapter you one day look back on. Who knows.

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