Mothers Day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

20120513-183848.jpgWhen I was pregnant with my son, pretty much alone and terrified, one of the last entries in my diary was noting that it was Mother’s Day. I notice i often stop writing when things are really troubling me. I think that Mother’s Day when as far as the rest of the world was concerned I was not worthy to be a mother was pretty much the worst one I have ever spent. It was a long way to December when my son was born. To be alone is a terrible thing. To be given the message that you are not worthy is a terrible and sad thing. It is also a lie. Everyone is worthy. I was worthy. More than worthy. So was my son.

I think often of adoptees who have gone in search of their mothers and found them wanting. Wanting in love for them. Rejecting of them in reunion. I don’t understand that. Studies have shown that a very high percentage, around 95%, want to meet their children lost to adoption.

When I read of rejections I want to write to the adoptee and say how sorry I am. I’d like write to the mother too. I don’t understand their response but maybe at some level I do.

When you lose a child to adoption the only way to survive in a world that refuses to talk about or acknowledge your loss is to shut down some part of you. I think sometimes that this is what these mothers fear, opening a flood gate and being overwhelmed by the pain. It is a legitimate fear.

At reunion you truly discover what you have lost. Or maybe you just allow yourself to feel the loss in a way you have never felt it before. I think adoptees go through this too particularly when they have been raised to believe they were rescued from a terrible fate only to discover that may not be true. The original fate if it had been allowed to play out, may not have been that bad. In fact, it might, with a little support, been quite good. Might even have been better.

Strangely, it was my son’s father who taught me something about children. When I found my son, his other children were in their late teens. (His son is 10 months younger than my son – but that’s a another post for another day.). My son’s father said to me, “Sometimes, if you let them, children will help you.” I believe that to be true in a general way but I’m not so sure it’s true for parents and children who have been lost to each other through adoption. I think the feelings of abandonment are too strong. And so the dance of hurt begins.

Sadly sometimes the hurt wins.

I’m not sure why I wrote about all of that. It just came out. I was going to write about how last year I had two Mother’s Days, one here the other in Paris France. So I’ll talk a bit about that now.

By happy coincidence my daughter was there for both of them. France celebrates Mother’s Day later in May. Both Mother’s Days were very She came to spend the weekend with us. Wonderful! In Paris, we went to lunch at the rooftop restaurant, Centre Georges Pompidou. It has a magnificent view of the city. I highly recommend it.

Thinking about my two Mother’s Days got me thinking about the whole Mother’s Day – Birth Mother’s Day debate.

Why don’t we change the name of this day? Why don’t we just move that apostrophe. Or get rid of it all together.

Mothers’ Day. Would that solve the problem? No need for the separate but allegedly equal Mother’s Day and birth mother’s day (There are no capitals there on purpose.)

Mothers Day. I kind of like it.

Much wisdom, per usual, over at The Declassified Adoptee on the subject of having two mothers.

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers and their children.

We are going out tomorrow because my daughter had to work today. She works hard I am proud to be her mother. I am proud to be my son’s mother too.

Peace

UM

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Talk to the Hand Adoption…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just talk to the hand adoption!


Hello, It’s me…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The typewriter is back!

You know that feeling you have when there is someone who is an old friend and you haven’t spoken to them in a while and you feel like you should give them a call, you want to give them a call, you like them, but for some reason you don’t call and then you start to feel funny about calling because it has been so long.

Well that’s how I am feeling about the blog.  Unsigned Masterpiece has been quiet for a while.  There is a reason. Over the last few months, in fact over the last nine or ten months, my mother experienced an on-going series of health crises.  She would be on the brink and then she would rally, quite spectacularly, and then we would go through the cycle again.  She lives in another city so there was a lot of driving and long distance phone calls with doctors and my sister.  A lot of worrying about what to do.

My mother died, somewhat unexpectedly despite her health issues, on February 20th.  She was 91.  Although it took us by surprise, I think she may have known because about eight days before she died she asked to have lunch with my sister and I.  We brought in food and dishes to the hospital and had a nice time.   I came back two days later on Valentine’s Day and surprised her.  I brought headphones and the soundtrack to Midnight in Paris and she listened and danced with her feet in her chair.  Midnight in Paris seems destined to be of significance in my life.

During all this, I didn’t feel like writing on my blog.  There also seemed to be a lot of anger floating around in the adoptoland blogoshere and I had enough going on.  I found all the anger and name-calling very sad.   Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh or somebody else.  Certain four letter words applied to women are sexist.

So I just decided to take a break from it all.

The outpouring of affection after my mother died was quite heart-warming.  Many people expressed their condolences, saying that they felt great sympathy for me and my sister and what we are going through.

Me, the year I got pregnant.

I nodded and accepted their kind words but I thought frequently as they were talking to me that there is only one population that understands the complicated relationships that exist between we mothers of the adopted and our own mothers.  They were, more often than not, the driving force behind the adoption “plan” that changed our lives and the lives of our children forever.

That is a big topic and one that I am not going to tackle on my first day back after such a lengthy absence. May be in a week or two.  Today it will be a kind of connect the dots post because that is how it feels to me.  A number of things came together.

After my mother died, my sister and I were going through old photographs to find pictures for a presentation at the funeral home.  It was kind of a nice exercise doing this with my sister.  Lots of memories.  And of course there were many pictures where I knew I was pregnant at the time the photograph was taken.  I was becoming reacquainted with these old photographs right around the same time Mr. Limbaugh was showing us who he really was by calling all women who wanted to use birth control sluts. (Proving it’s not about birth control or abortion it’s about women’s sexuality. Trust me.)  So this is me at the time I could have used some birth control.  Not looking particularly slutty.  In fact, not looking slutty at all.  Looking like the innocent young girl that I was.

You will see in the picture to the right that it is a graduation picture.  I was very close to graduating when I had my son, yet they convinced me that I had nothing to offer him. This brings me to another thing that happened recently. Another dot to connect up.

Canadian mothers are now pursuing the same apology for dubious adoption practices given to their sisters in Australia.  Here is the link to the story in the Canadian newspapers.

One other random dot-connecting event.  I was watching a documentary about Phil Ochs the other night.  The film started with this quote from JFK.

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often […] we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

President John F. Kennedy – Commencement Address at Yale University, Old Campus, New Haven, Connecticut, June 11, 1962

That, if you ask me, is the trouble with adoption.  The myths die hard.  It’s uncomfortable for people to think.

And speaking of avoiding the discomfort of thought.

People asked me if I told my son about his grandmother’s death.  I didn’t because when I told him about my father’s, his grandfather’s, death, I heard nothing from him.  I knew then just what a cold heart I was dealing with.  I did hear from his father however, that was nice.

So I guess, dear readers, you have to do a little work and put all this together into a coherent whole.  My mother’s death, the photograph, Rush Limbaugh, the quest for an apology and the JFK quote, my son’s cold heart.  If you figure it all out. Let me know.  I’ll be here waiting.

Peace

UM


Overdue Apologies

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One country down, how many to go…

Australia’s Roman Catholic Church apologizes for its adoption policies in the 60’s


T is for That’s My Boy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo Blog#432 Day 28

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.

Twitter

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.

Peace

UM