Wishing my daughter the happiest 27th birthday a gal can have.
When I told my now 15 year old son about his half sister, he was about 7. The conversation happened right after I found her and I was full of emotion and hope. I believed back then there was a chance she might meet me and by extension, him. I did my best explaining to him. I cried while my son sat listening, watching, questioning and later, overwhelmed with the information, spinning in his chair. My ex-husband, his father, sat by and said nothing. The entire experience is documented in my post, Telling Children.
I never held such a conversation with my youngest son, soon to be 11. I had hoped, at least in the early days that my daughter, his sister, would be common talk in our house. I foolishly hoped he would grow up with an awareness of her and that I would not have to make a big production about it. Read any of my old posts and you will see how foolish I was in those days. The naiveté, the hope, the ignorance.
As my reunion slowly turned from what I hoped it would be to what it is today, the talk of my daughter, his sister, also turned. I put away her pictures. I stopped sending her gifts (at her request); I stopped sending cards signed by her brothers and me. Gone were the days where my oldest son drew her pictures, asked about her, and told me she was a total “hottie”. In its place came silence, tears, and stilted conversations. Despite my best efforts to encourage dialogue, my oldest son picked up on my angst. While I never told him to, and never would, he stopped asking. As a result, the free flow of information I thought would find its way to the eyes, ears and soul of my youngest son also stopped.
I have been aware of this. There have been opportunities to have that conversation, again, yet I let them pass. I have seen what my reunion did to my oldest son. I saw his confusion. I answered his questions like “why doesn’t my sister want to know me?” and “what did I do to her?” and finally “If adoption was so good for her, why isn’t she happy about it? Why isn’t she nice to you?” as best I could. My answer was almost always “I don’t know sweetie. I hope some day you can ask her.” For that is the truth, I don’t know. Only she knows. I am aware that anything I say will influence his perception of her both now and in the future so I avoid the questions, cease the conversation, and go on.
Yet in doing so, I left my youngest behind. I want to think I was, or am, protecting him. Today, on mother’s day of all days, I came to the conclusion that I have to find a way to tell him something. I have to accept that another one of my children will make an installment on the loan of my heart taken out by Easter House. Only now, it will be my youngest sons’ heart I offer up to the emotional bank teller.
It’s the same question each time. A statement of utter confusion with big brown eyes looking anxiously up at me.
“I have a sister?”
Today the question came while we were sorting old photos. My husband and I had recently cleaned out our basement and I had three Rubbermaid bins full of photos, papers, books, and more from my first marriage. My sons loved sorting the photos, asking who was who, laughing at my bad hair and excessive weight and the mullet their father sported in college.
Photos were being tossed into various piles when my youngest son says “Who is this?”. I look over and see him holding a picture of my daughter. The picture was taken on her college campus. I had saved the picture early in reunion when she once gave me access to her Facebook. I had scoured those photos, saved every single one of them and later printed them all at my local Walgreens. Most I had put into a large scrap book, again, early reunion. A few extras seem to have escaped the album and were now mixed in with all the other family photos, much like they should have been all along.
“That’s your sister, [Amended Name]” I say.
“What? My sister? I have a sister?” he says thoroughly confused.
My oldest son utters a sound of exasperation and begins to grab more photos. As I struggle to respond, he does it for me.
“Uh, yeah. You have a sister.” He says in a lower, somewhat uncomfortable tone. He is protecting me. I can feel it. He wants to shut the conversation down. He knows that I have told his brother this before. He is likely annoyed his brother is asking again but further annoyed that it is going to bother me, and presumably him as well. What he does not know is that he was given a lengthy conversation, time to ask questions, time to talk about his sister where as his inquisitive brother was not given such an opportunity. Mommy expected him to pick up the news and figure it out all on his own. Bad mommy.
“What, you mean, like Sienna? But she is my stepsister..,” he says even more confused as he mentions the child of his father’s new wife.
“No. Not her.” Oldest son says with a tone of annoyance. He has that brotherly duh.shut up.stupid tone to his voice. He is jumping in and attempting to quash the conversation.
I should have jumped in here. I should have said something. The good mother I am supposed to be, I think I am, the one I try so hard to be, would have used this as an opening to that long overdue conversation.
But I will.
I just need to find the words. New, age appropriate, developmentally on-target words. While I have told him many times before, I clearly need to tell him again, in a different way.
Hello searcher from Springfield, IL. You used Bing to search the internet for the keywords “colleen rogers adoption caseworker illinois“. You landed on my blog. You read the post titled Day of Surrender.
Feel free to let me know if I can help with something. Leave a comment here and I will get back to you. Your email will not be published but visible to me.
I admit I am curious. I would like to talk to her myself. She does not answer my requests for contact.
If you were considering ordering from Chloe + Isabel for Moms Day or any day, just a note that today we launched the new summer Collection Retro Riviera. Bright flowers, nautical themes and an adorable hedgehog or two are included in the collection.
If you have not used the promo code yet, be sure to put MOM25 in at checkout for 25% off your order of $50.00 or more.
All commissions for April and May will be donated to The Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Keywords recently used to find my blog according to my statcounter:
“does reunion cure adoption”
The only “cure” for adoption is parenting your own child, but perhaps that is more a vaccination against the disease than a cure, right?
Reunion changes the effects of the adoption (and not necessarily for the better) but it does not cure it, IMHO.
A few months ago I put out a call to a few of my networks asking to connect with current or former teen moms. I know they are out there and they are successfully parenting. Several were kind enough to answer my call and even kind enough to answer a few questions for me. This post is from Gloria. Brief (as she rightly advised me to be) yet powerful and oh so on point.
S: Tell me a bit about your story. When you got pregnant, how family, friends, baby’s father and most important, you, handled it?
G: I became pregnant at the age of 15 and had my daughter 4 days before my 16th birthday. Somehow her father and I just knew I was pregnant. We were talking on the phone a few weeks after having intercourse and he said “You’re pregnant aren’t you?” We just knew. My entire family was in shock I was the extra curricular involved honors and AP student. Teenage pregnancy doesn’t happen to girls like me. But it does.
S: Did you consider adoption for your child? Do you know anyone your age that has surrendered their child to adoption?
G: I did not consider adoption. One of my sisters suggested it just as a mere suggestion and we all basically asked her if she was fkcn crazy. I do not know anybody my age that gave their child up for adoption.
S: How did you find help and resources (or did you)?
G: I just had to ask around and hope something would come up. Mostly nothing did but there were a few services I received.
S: What resources would you suggest today to a teen facing an unplanned pregnancy?
- First and foremost — seek out emotional help. Mental/emotional support is not a bad thing and I really wish I had more of it.
- Know your legal rights like Title Nine which states your school can NOT kick you out and several other amazing things you need to know.
- Look for a community whether it be a physical one or one online that provides you with REAL support. Not the back handed “I will help you but not that much because remember YOU did THIS to yourself.” Google for your future. Look for daycare help, breast feeding help, young mom groups. Use Google to help you find a world of support. It might not be on the first page results but it’s there if you look for it.
- HOLD ON to your dreams – you know the ones you had before becoming pregnant because you can still achieve them.
- Last but not least: become your own best advocate and be confident in yourself. No one will take you seriously if you don’t yourself.
S: Do you believe we can prevent teen pregnancy and if so, how? If not, why not?
G: Absolutely prevent teenage pregnancy? No. Greatly reduce it? Yes.
I have so many ideas on how we can achieve this goal but first and foremost we need federally mandated comprehensive sex education.
Second, support the Real Education For Healthy Youth Act.
Third, talk to your children about relationships, sex, their bodies, good touch bad touch and everything else society is already doing but not contextualizing for them.
S: Anything else you would like to share?
G: Realize that YOU are responsible for your body, future, and sexual health and you alone. If you feel your school isn’t teaching you the sex ed that is relevant to you and your peers speak out. If you feel pressured to have sex speak out and most importantly realize that sex and relationships are not one in the same.
Just in time for Mother’s Day Chloe + Isabel is offering a promo code. Use MOM25 at checkout to receive 25% off your order of $50.00 or more. I recommend the mother of pearl earrings. Did you know the stone is associated with protection and mothers love?
Reminder that for April and May all commissions will be donated to The Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The Care Center has worked with thousands of teen mothers and their families as the women continue their education and move toward greater self-awareness and economic stability.
Looking for family preservation resources for an expectant mom in Montana.
I recall having a reader/bdad in Montana. Not sure if he is still around or would know but please, if you are in that area of the country, please let me know.
Also, any mothers or adoptees that might be willing to chat with an expectant mom weighing her options, please leave a comment and I will share your email with the mom in question should she ask. Mom is single, age 20, and look resources to aid her in making an informed decision.
Due to low sales volume in April (I went on vacation!) I am extending the benefit for The Care Center in Holyoke, Mass through May.
I will donate all sales commissions made during the months of April and May to The Care Center. Donation will be made on June 5th. Shop now to begin contributing, contact me to arrange an on-line or in home pop up shop or visit their site directly to make a donation.
We have so many perks on a regular basis, free gifts, raffles, etc. You really must inquire! You can make yourself even more beautiful while supporting mothers working to complete their education.
Please share this fundraising effort with your friends and family!
Remember this old post about adoption trauma and art? I do. I thought of it again today when I read a Facebook invite to an event in California. Sadly I am on the wrong coast.
Others had the same dreams as I and they are making it a reality. Check out their Facebook page. Here is a teaser from their page for you.
The Adoption Museum Project is creating the first museum to explore the story of adoption.
The Adoption Museum Project creates social change by exploring the story of adoption in museum space — a safe, honoring, empowering and public environment — through all forms of human expression.