My Doctor – The Marathon Runner*

ImageChef.comWent to see the doc today. She’s great. Before she gets to medical issues, she asks about your life. Sits and talks to you for a while.

So I told her about the boy saying he was “moving on.” Told her I was feeling relatively OK about it, not happy of course, but OK. You can’t force someone to have a relationship with you. So other than continuing to say I’m here – not much I can do. It is, as it has always been, up to him.

I told her one of the things that helped was reading about other adoption reunion experiences from the perspective of both moms and adoptees. And the kind messages of support from all sides.

I told her some adoptees say discovering that their mothers aren’t bad people and that adoption really didn’t rescue them from anything terrible causes some considerable disquiet which can manifest itself in upping the difficulty factor in the reunion relationship.

I guess, it just occurs to me, that it is the adoptee version of what we mothers go through when we discover that all the reasons why they told us we shouldn’t raise our child and somebody else, those perfect, adoptive parents, should are not true. They are both adoption myths. Myths that serve another purpose. They are the reverse of each other: All birth moms aren’t bad, troubled, slutty – All adoptive parents aren’t perfect, loving, caring.

They are myths, of course, that never used to get revealed as the falsehoods that they are before there were reunions.

Speaking as a mom, it is very upsetting to have the whole premise on which your adoption “decision” was based prove to be false. If I accept that and know its impact on moms, I have to believe that the flip side could have a similar impact on an adoptee.

My doctor said that when adoptees discover that mom really is OK and that life with mom might not have been that bad if she had had some support for being a mom, the adoptee thinks – if the problem wasn’t her then it must have been me.

But they were just babies – how could they feel that? I said. As many of the adoptees point out, they didn’t have anything to do with anything.

My doctor said, it’s the same way kids feel in a divorce. That it’s their fault, that it’s something about them that has caused mommy and daddy to split.

They think if only I had been better in some way, she said, I wouldn’t have been given up for adoption. They internalize it.

I really hope that’s not true, I said, because if it is that is way too high a price to pay.



* She is 65 and came in second in the Boston Marathon for her age group.


5 Responses to My Doctor – The Marathon Runner*

  1. joy says:

    I had to face this, and what you say to me makes a lot of sense.

    I didn’t blame myself however, actually at all, it was different. It was more like, losing the solid ground under neath my feet. You know if you always believe something, and then suddenly the whole reasoning, the whole purpose is snatched from you, well you do kind of cling to and look for it again.

    It didn’t make me feel responsible, it made me feel exploited.

    I feel exploited by all my parents actually, which is a gross feeling to have.

    I struggled more, with dealing with the fact that my grandparents were very instrumental, and that these were my people, Idk if that makes sense, but I have not been able to reconcile the fact that my family, the same one I get my talents, my predilctions from, are the same people who would do something like this. I can’t separate myself from what they did, because I am part of them…

    I am talking in circles right now, which I guess is appropriate as this situation confounds me.

  2. mermaid says:

    Your doctor sounds great! I recently told my doctor about my surrendered son; he knew I had four kids, of course, but not the details on the oldest. It was in the context of asking about a health problem my son had told me he had. My doctor was totally nonchalont about the fact this was a son who was surrendered and with whom I had reunited, and treated me just like a worried mother of any son! He reassured me that the problem was common, not serious, and that my son was doing exactly the right thing in losing weight and getting more active. It was really nice not be asked “what do his adoptive parents think” or anything else, and just be treated as a concerned Mom.

    Ironically that son has started running and is going to do a half-marathon, my youngest son has done several full marathons, and he and the oldest son I raised do stair races in tall buildings. My middle son does long bike rides and goes to the gym every day. I am proud of all of them. I wish I could get my fat ass moving more! Don’t know if my doctor runs, but he and his wife who works in the office are in excellent shape.

  3. unsignedmasterpiece says:

    If I kept a gratitude journal or whatever those things are called, that day I would have written, I am very thankful this person is my doctor. I do have a great one. I’m very lucky.

  4. In the retrospect of 12+ years of reunion, I see that my son has always resented that I am OK. A good person, with a decent life, a long and loving marriage, financial stability, lots of friends. All the things he didn’t have — and for the most part still doesn’t. He has pain but doesn’t get mine. His anger is at me, while mine is at the system that took our children from us.

    P.S. You have a great doctor!

  5. I can only imagine how your world must have turned upside down when you found out adoption wasn’t what you had been led to believe. I find myself having been the one to break that news to my mother. I thought the intermediary would have discussed it with her, but I suspect what I had to say completely rocked her world and that is why she has chosen to cut off contact. And yes, sadly, I find myself going through just what you mentioned–knowing that her life turned out fine and wondering what was wrong with me that she not only relinquished me but now must deny my very existence. My brain knows that’s not really true, but that permanently scarred baby inside can’t grasp it any other way.

    Yes, it’s a high price to pay–as much so as what she, you and other women endured surrendering your children. From this side of the fence it feels like adoption does more harm than good.

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