Friday, November 11, 2011

Close, But No Cigar

Several times a week, I go to my son's Facebook page and check in (as much as possible) with what is happening in his life. Okay, I know this might seem stalker like, but I just can't help myself.   I desperately want to know him, I'm not a psychopath and I won't cause him harm with the things I learn on there, but I am driven to know.

We now have three friends that have friends in common.  Tonight I saw a woman on his page that is friends with someone I have known for about 30 years.  Two of my friends from high school have friends of his on their pages.  I'm dying to call one of them and query after these friends that know my son.  Please can you ask your friend about him?  How do they know him?  What is he like?  Does he talk about adoption?  About me?  Is he okay?

If you met me in real life, I'm not a desperate person.  I'm not this weak.  I'm not outwardly this heartbroken.  I don't know how to fix this.  I don't know why my friends have connections to him, but I can't.  I am lost.

HIs Father

About a year after I had my son, I was riding the el in Chicago, on my way home from somewhere.  As I was getting on the train, I looked down the aisle of seats and saw D, my son's first father.  He and I had never spoken after my son was born.  I had always wanted to, but never had the nerve to pick up the phone and call him.  As I started to walk over to him, he glared at me, switched seats with his friend (so he could sit next to the window) and deliberately turned his back on me.  Can't say I blamed him, after how he had been treated, but it completely threw me for a loop.  I started shaking all over, somehow managed to get off at the next stop before I burst into hysterical sobs.  Not sure how long it took me to get home that night but suffice it to say that D and I never spoke again.

In late spring of 2010, I was having a searching moment (I had those periodically every year!) and decided to google D's name.  Low and behold, I came up with his mailing address.  I thought maybe it was time to send that apology that I'd wanted to give so long ago.  I composed a letter saying how sorry I was that he was so left out of the decision making in 1979.  Sorry that he had to hear about his son from my scary, strict Italian father.  I told him I was searching for our son and wanted to know if he would like me to share his information with him if I found him.  I told him that he hadn't had a choice so long ago and that I wanted to offer him the choice this time around.  I gave him my phone number and email and asked him to contact me when he was comfortable.

About three weeks later, I received an email from him asking to have a phone conversation with me.  We set a date and time and I prepared myself for the verbal apology I wanted to give as well as the inevitable tongue lashing that I was sure was coming my way.  We got on the phone and after a few nervous moments, he said, "Well, should we make more small talk or should we get to the elephant in the room?"  Being all about that elephant I chose to cut to the heart of the matter.  I said my apology for how he had been treated, which he accepted.  Then he said, "You know we did the right thing, don't you?"

Hold the presses!!  Did you really just say that to me?  First of all WE didn't do anything.  YOU weren't there remember?  Okay, admittedly that wasn't entirely his fault, but still.  Second of all, how can you think all of this grief, not raising our son and him not knowing his parents was best for any of us?  Then I realized, his journey in all of this was completely different than mine.  He didn't have all the emotional baggage around this that I did.  He never saw our son, never felt him kick in my belly, never got that attachment to him as a living, breathing human being, like I did.  He asked me why I was searching now, what was special about this time?  I told him I had hoped since the day we signed the papers that I would find him and that I had been actively searching since the day our son had turned eighteen.  I realized then as well, that this was not the everyday heartache for him that it was for me.

Unfortunately, D didn't want to talk about the emotions related to the "past."  I was disappointed about that, I think I really needed him to tell me how he felt about it all, now and then.  I needed his honesty to help me heal.  I still feel like there is an elephant in the room between us.  Before we hung up, D said he's happy to do whatever our son wants.  If he wants to meet D or email or talk on the phone, D's fine with that.  If he doesn't want contact that's okay too.  Then he asked me why I thought our son wanted to be found, after all  he has our names, they're on his birth certificate.  Crap.  I had to explain to him about adoption and amended birth certificates and how we were basically erased from our son's life, that there was no way for him to find out info on us.

I talked to D on a Friday night, on Sunday I got the email with my son's name and some contact info.  I still have not told D that I have found our son.  I guess  was hoping to talk to our son before letting D know.  My guilt was running the show, and I wanted our son to hear why his father wasn't there for him (or me) from me.  I pushed D out of the situation.  His lack of commitment and involvement was my choice, I wanted to be the one to tell my son that.  Since I haven't had a response for a very long time, I think it's time to tell D about my discovery.  To be honest, I'm not sure how interested he is.  I've never received any communication from him asking if I've found anything.  I could probably get away with not telling him, but that just seems dishonest to me.  I've been holding out long enough, time to at least send him the first picture I found of our son online.  Yet another layer of adoption crap to deal with.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have a couple of posts I'm working on, but I'm too tired to finish any of them tonight.  I thought I'd just post this:

I hope that wherever my son was today, that he a great day.

I hope that he had time to enjoy watching the Bears beat the Eagles on Monday night.

I hope that he's thought of me once or twice over the last several months.

I hope he's happy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Self Forgiveness

Last night I watched two programs on television that had to do with our soldiers who are bravely fighting our wars overseas and the very serious PTSD that many of them are suffering from when they get home.  As I watched these  men describe the issues they were facing, a consistent theme started occurring to me.  Self forgiveness.  The heart of the matter for most of these men was that they have not been able to forgive themselves either for doing things that they were ordered to do, but went against their moral or human grain, or for not being able to save someone, or in the case of a medic, many people.

As Oprah would say, I had an AHA! moment.  I realized just how difficult forgiving yourself for something you feel deeply in your soul was wrong for you to do,  is.  How a person can become stuck in their guilt.  How it can affect how you view yourself, your world, the people you love and how it can completely destroy your self worth.

I'm not convinced that self forgiveness can be fully achieved.  I think that by speaking about the ideas in our heads that we feel are the worst of the worst, the things so bad that if people knew about them they would surely hate us or worse, by speaking of those things to someone, anyone, we free ourselves to go on with life, to grow, move forward and start to heal.  I don't think that that means that we forgive ourselves fully.  I think that complete self forgiveness requires accepting that you did the best that you could at the time, you did all that you were capable of for what you had control over.  Therein lies the problem.  For those of us that struggle with self forgiveness, there is always a part of us that knows we could've done better, there had to have been something else we could've done, something we just didn't see at the time.  That's the part that will never go away.  If you can get to the point where you can accept that you did the best you could at the time, and there is nothing you can do to change the past now, you have to learn to live with the "what if's?".  I think for most of us, that is the most healing we're going to get.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Those Little Quirky Things

You know those quirky little things that pop up in life.  Sometimes your reaction is, "Wow!  Cool!  How exciting!"  Sometimes your reaction is "You're kidding, right?!"  This is one of those you're kidding, right? moments.  It's a minor thing, as many quirky little things are, but still...

I have a Mac.  Love it.  Everyday when I go online, the Apple website is my homepage.  For the last month (or few weeks at least) there's been an ad for the new iPhone 4s.  On the white phone, which is the one in the center, is shows a reminder something along the lines of Remind me on May 19 it is dad's birthday.  Here's the quirky little thing, May 19th is my son's birthday!  Everyday, several times a day, I see that and think "Really?  You had to pick that date?  You couldn't have chosen May 5th, May 12th, May 26th?  How about November 2nd?  My birthday would be easier to see than that!"  Jeez!  What is the universe trying to tell me?

Friday, November 4, 2011

I wish

I wish I was in a place in my reunion where I could write about how I feel about adoption politically.  I want to write about how infuriated I am that adoptees can't have their OBC's and I want to write about how shocked I am that people completely unassociated with adoption have no idea that altered birth certificates exist.  I want to write about how many children are stuck in foster care, children who desperately need and want homes and yet they are ignored because it is too much work for families to adopt them.  I want to write about how adoption should be solely for those children who have no options, who are abandoned, abused, discarded; how we as adults should be brave enough to step up to the plate and bring them into our families and love them, nurture them.  I want to write about how wrong I think it is that adoption has become about what is the best way to heal infertile parents instead of what is the best way to heal emotionally injured children.  I want to write about all these things, but I can't.  Not yet.  I can't seem to get past all my pain yet.  I still need this blog to help me heal.  I can't seem to write about others until I can see light at the end of my own tunnel.  I wish it was different, but it's not.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I want my baby

I read a post on Adoption Truth (the post is Tricks Without Treats if the link doesn't work) that reminded me of something.  My kept daughter (can I just say how much I hate having to differentiate between my two children like that?)  was born nine weeks early, weighed 2 lbs. 15 oz. when she was born.  I was really sick when I had her.  I didn't get to see her for almost 48 hours after she was born.  I was kept in a room with no lights, no music, no tv, no phone, no stimulation until they could stabilize me.  The first time I saw my daughter was at midnight, two days after she was born.  They wheeled me in on a gurney and I saw my beautiful, half- baked daughter, tinier than anything you can imagine. She was beautiful.  I had toxemia, and all things considered, we were very, very lucky.  Here's the thing though, the whole time I was in  the hospital (five days on the mag bag with no stimulation allowed, around the clock cbc's , constant blood pressure monitoring and way too many ultrasounds) I kept thinking the worst.  Something horrible is going to happen to this baby because I gave away my son.  This is what I deserve.

Isn't that awful?!!  Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous.  But I always felt that I was being punished for the choice I had made so long ago.  What better way to punish me than to hurt the thing I loved most in the world, again.  Twice in my life I've had children and twice I've left the hospital without them.  My daughter stayed in the NICU for six weeks after she was born.  I was there every day, twice a day for hours.  I  got released from the hospital about a week after she was born.  I remember standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and just starting to sob hysterically. My parents were out from Chicago to help us manage and my father asked me "What's wrong with you?"  I  sobbed/screamed "I just want my baby!"  Boy, if that wasn't history repeating itself!

What Cassi wrote about the other day regarding her granddaughter's attachment to her mom while in the NICU struck a huge chord with me.  Everything you are taught in the NICU is the polar opposite of what you are told in adoption.  In the NICU they stress the importance of the mother/child bond.  So much so, that there is something called kangarooing where you put your preemie child against your bare chest and cuddle them, so they can feel your heart beat and smell your scent, which helps their physical and emotional development.  Hmmmm.

In adoption, you are told that the best thing for your child is to give them to someone else, who is better able to care for them.  Oddly, I was encouraged to visit my child, hold my child.  I was also asked to carry my child downstairs and hand him over to the new parents attorney.  I could do none of these things.  I had already instantly bonded with my son when he was born.  The first time I held him, I went from scared teenager, to mother.  I knew that if I saw him again, or held him, I would never be able to do what was "right" for him.  I would never be able to walk away and give him a "better" life.  I certainly was not going to hand him over to someone else to take home.  I guess the big disconnect for me then, was that nobody would really acknowledge that I was his mother.  Everyone danced around it.  I was his mother, but I wasn't considered capable of being his mother.  Hold him, but make sure you hand him over to people who are older, more capable, better than you, to raise him.  Hold him because that is what is best for him, then break your heart and hand him over because that is what is best for him.

I guess the glaring difference from the NICU and adoption, is the long term bond that is allowed to be formed.   In the NICU, the goal is that you are prepared to take an incredibly small, somewhat fragile child home and that you are fully bonded and empowered to care for that child.  In adoption, you are asked to do what is "best" for your child.  Hold him, bond with him, because that is what is best for him and at the same time prepare him to go home with someone who is better than you are to raise him.  How can both of these theories be correct?  You are the most important person in his life, you must be fully prepared to care for him and you are the least important person in his life and you must prepare him to be raised by someone else.  How can you expect mothers to do this and not acknowledge their immense grief?  How can you ask a new mother to develop that bond, only to have it broken a few hours or days later and not expect it to deeply affect both mother and child?  Maybe it's because in the NICU, the mother isn't dispensable.  In adoption, we are temporary, disposable, only there for the birth and then shoved aside and erased for eternity.  A bookmark until the "real" parents show up.

By the time my daughter left the NICU, I could change a diaper the size of a cocktail napkin on a baby covered in wires.  I could burp a baby that was so small that my hand covered most of her body.  I held a baby so small that her hand could not wrap around your pinky finger, and I gave a bath to a baby that fit in the small little bin they put by the side of your bed in case you throw up.  I was a well prepared, empowered mother.  If they had done all those things for me when my son was born, he would have come home with me.  That is the difference between the NICU and adoption.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Wonder What He Thinks

I wonder sometimes, what my son thinks about adoption.  Is he someone who was greatly affected by it?  Is he someone that has connected the dots of his life and have some of those dots led him back to me?  Is there anger or pain there?  Is there curiosity?  What about denial?  Is he someone who will deny that adoption has caused issues in his life?  Is he a "happy" adoptee?  Has he ever tried to get his OBC and is he frustrated in not being able to?  Will he be one of the adoptees trying to get his OBC on Nov. 15th in Illinois?

I hope one day to find all these things out.  For today, I'm just wondering.