adoption, reunion, reform, realiTy
A few months ago, my son woke up and decided a really good thing to do would be to go on Twitter and trash his mother. Not the other mother, the amother, but this mother, me. At the time it happened I had had no involvement with him for almost two years, not since the last time he decided to trash and accuse me (and his father) of things – although that time it was to my face, more or less, via email.
As things sometimes pan out, when he decided to Twitter-trash me the universe had my back. A friend discovered what was happening. I used to have my UM Twitter feed appear on this blog. I guess he found the address there. She got a new follower and somewhat uncharacteristically checked him out. To her surprise, she discovered many, many tweets about me. And they weren’t very nice.
She had faith in my intestinal fortitude so she let me know. I went in and read a few things. Checked out who he’d followed from my list – a few Moms, a few adoptees. From what I saw, same old stuff. I got in touch with the people on my list and I forwarded the link to a few people who knew what had been going on with him for a few years but hadn’t ever seen it live and in person, as it were. Then I decided better to just let it go.
However, that was not to be. The responses I got back from the people I sent the link to were a bit worrisome. For example:
“My heart aches for you.”
“I started to cry when I was reading this.”
“OMG, are you alright?”
And from the less reticent – “Fuck him!”
This made me think perhaps I ought to check this out a little further. Without reading, I printed them up.
There were six and a half pages.
That is a lot of talkin’ trash about me over a couple of days at 140 characters a shot.
But even though I had the six and a half pages in my hand, I still was not going to read. That honour fell to, you guessed it, my husband. As I told him, I don’t want to read these but I think somebody should. My husband is the most objective person I know. Annoyingly secure, as I tell him frequently. So he, who has never demonstrated anything but kindness to my son, read and reported back. Told me about the things he’d said. Same old stuff but a few new wrinkles. The tweets started two days before what would have been the 24th anniversary of our first meeting in 1987. Our reunion fell apart on his birthday in 2005. I stopped talking to him in 2009 because he just kept attacking me and twisting everything that I said.
Armed with these six and a half pages of tweets, I thought about what to do next. I seriously, and I mean seriously, thought about putting them in an envelope and mailing them to his adopted parents or the companies he does business with or some of his friends. I thought of sending one of the six pages to him with Really? written across it. But I only thought about doing it. I didn’t do it.
I can’t help wondering if someone is encouraging him to think and act the way he does. Maybe its his adoptive parents or one of their friends or a happy adoptee girlfriend. Maybe one of those adoption hearts and flowers therapists. Or maybe he is doing it all on his own. Who knows.
I only read three tweets myself but they were a pretty good example of what I am talking about.
In his very first tweet he talks about how when he came here to meet me for the first time, I dragged him around like “some kind of trophy.” Of course, I would say I was proud of him and wanted him to meet all my friends, welcome him to my life, treat him like a member of my family but I guess I was wrong.
In another, he refers to my daughter as his “half-sister.” She was born after I met him. She never thought of him as her “half brother” just her big brother. No one in our family has ever thought of him as half an anything. He is my son. He is her brother. She was very hurt the first time he vanished from all our lives without any explanation to any of us. Insensed, that anyone would even ask him “Why?”
And finally, I read a comment on my morals. Or lack thereof. According to my son, my morals are no better than his father’s (???) because I admitted that in 1978 when his father unexpectedly showed up where I was attending law school, he put the moves on me and I was tempted. Sometimes I think adoptees forget or don’t realize there was a living breathing relationship involved in their arriving on the face of this earth. But that is another post for another day.
Sure I was tempted. But his father was married and so was I. And even though my husband was living in another city and I had, as the cops would say, opportunity, that didn’t change the fact our son had been given up for adoption. No thanks. Not interested in picking up where we left off and acting like nothing had happened.
But am I confused here? If you are tempted to do something that you probably shouldn’t do and you don’t do it, isn’t that a good thing?
In my view, anyone who would do this has a great desire to hurt and humiliate (read shame). Shaming – That’s adoption old-school. Most of us gave up that one when we decided to come out of the adoption closet.
When my friend (and fellow blogger) found the tweets for me, she asked my permission to do a post about it and she did. With my agreement she didn’t identify me at the time out of respect for my privacy. It was all pretty new and raw. That someone was directing that much anger at me, particularly someone who is my son, was upsetting. I’ve never had that happen in my life before. But something always felt not quite right about the non-identification of me as the recipient. Like I did have something to be ashamed of.
He wrote me a very nice New Year’s message once, a few years before the trouble started. In it he praised my honesty and integrity. He said my daughter was a testament to these qualities in me. He said I was the only one of the parents who was totally 100% honest with him even when that was a difficult thing to be.
To be fair, I should say the tweets were taken down but nothing is ever completely gone on the internet. Those six and a half pages of tweets I have tucked away should be made available to anyone who is thinking about giving a child up for adoption. Just to let them see the anger.
On November 30th I am going to write about what I got out of blogging everyday. I can tell that among other things it has brought a change in my feelings toward him. As people are fond of saying, you can’t control other people or what happens to you, all you can control is your reaction. I worry about him. I still think probably we shouldn’t be talking to each other but he is my son. I care what happens to him. I hope he is doing well. I hope he has gotten in touch with what is really bothering him.
Well, talking about 1978 and me being busy defending my virtue has made me think about the lyrics of this song. I’ve always liked it. Too bad it wasn’t around ten years earlier, in 1968.