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.