“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson
I read, more often than not, of adoptees who are kept a secret, whose natural families shun them upon reunion, who don’t want to meet, who experience half assed reunions, who are asked to hide in cars much like their own mothers were years before when they were pregnant with the child. I know of families who don’t want to know the child/adult, want to continue to live with their heads in the sand.
That is not me and that is not my family.
I have told my closest loved ones since the day I lost my daughter about her. It was a litmus test. I did not go around screaming it, defining myself by my trauma, wearing a sandwich board. I did however schedule time in every relationship that mattered to me to share my daughters existence, loss to adoption and importance in my life.
Most got it and respected it. Only one person ran from it and frankly, I am glad he did.
Upon reunion, I had to run interference for my daughter. She did not want contact with anyone other than me (and even I was questionable at times). She made it clear she did not want to meet. She drew very distinct lines in the sand and boundaries for me not to cross.
Having read enough adoptee psychology to understand to some degree, I stand on my side of the cyber fence and watch, wait, understand, react, don’t react, read, and more. I get it. I can relate on my own level. Thanks to the adoptee friends I know and love, I can kinda understand her. I try not to push. I try to understand. I give space. I give time.
This is not so easy for my other children, my nieces and nephews that she has denied contact with. How do I explain to them? What do you tell a 16 year old girl who wants to know her oldest cousin? How do I explain to her that the fact that my daughter wants nothing to do with her has nothing to do with, well, HER.
Upon reunion, my 16 yo niece (who carries the same name as my daughters amended name), got very excited. I shared my daughters myspace with said niece just so she could see her pictures. My niece, without my knowledge, sent my daughter a friend request.
I freaked out. She doesn’t want contact! She doesn’t want contact! OMG. Niece, what did you do? Turns out my daughter ignored or denied it anyway, mini crisis over. Even still, it was painful for me to look at my nieces face. “Why doesn’t she want to know me?”
Its not you honey, it’s really not.
When I found my daughters youtube video, I shared it with my mother and my sister. My mother, my daughter’s grandmother, apparently viewed it a lot. Daughter writes me, rather angry at all the views she has gotten. She makes it private. No one can look at it now. My mother confronts me weeks later asking me why she cannot see daughters video.
She was uncomfortable Mom.
Uncomfortable with her grandmother looking at a video? I am not a pedophile, she joked.
Yeah. I know.
My eldest son asked early on if he could meet his sister. He asked when we would meet her.
Uh. Maybe never, son.
While he is doing really well with this stuff and does talk about it, I do see the discomfort, the confusion, the lack of understanding. “Shes my SISTER. Why doesn’t she want to meet me?”
How do you explain the horrors of adoption and the damage it does to a nine year old boy? (Sure, I have my daughters feelings to be concerned about but damn it, my son has feelings too.)
No amount of explaining and counseling on my part will change the fact that from my sons and nieces perspective she does not want to know them. What if she changes her mind 10 years from now? Will they understand? Forgive her? Or will one or more of them be caught up in the rejection they feel today that they reject her then? (God, I hope not).
My oldest niece is in her freshman year of college. She is studying fashion. My daughter herself is quite the fashionista. Niece is a true angel. Fun, outgoing, beautiful, caring. Last year when she got accepted, she was very nervous about going away to school. She wanted someone to talk to about it. Someone that had recently done it or was doing it. My sister, her mother, asked me if she could write to my daughter. My sister said it would be wonderful (in her opinion) if my daughter and her daughter (2 years apart in age) could become friends if even via email. They could share fashion tips, talk college campus, etc. “Nicole always wanted an older sister”, my sister tells me.
Uh. No. Sorry. She doesn’t want contact.
Same sister has a tendency to be a little over zealous in the family inclusion department. She thinks everyone should be invited to everything. Should do x y and z. She has repeatedly asked me if she could contact my daughter.
Um. Don’t you dare, I told her. If you do something stupid and screw up this fragile relationship of mine I will never forgive you.
When I send my daughters photos or extracts of her correspondence to family members, I strip off her email. I don’t share her myspace, her blogs or her photo albums.
She doesn’t want contact.
When a member of my daughter’s natural family chose not to share her existence with extended family, I went a bit ballistic. This goes against every bone in my body. She is not a dirty secret. Don’t be ashamed of her. Be ashamed of this country we live in that allows these adoption practices.
Furthermore, I really believe this family member is putting themselves and their family (also related to my daughter by blood) into some serious bad karma by living in lies and denial. I believe strongly that unspoken lies, secrets, denial will manifest itself SOMEWHERE in that family constellation. It’s bound to blow up in their face sometime. Why wait for the explosion?
When I asked for an explanation from this family member, the response was that they were protecting the other children. Daughter doesn’t want contact. Family member has other children to consider. They have feelings too.
They are right of course. I understand that. Cuz, see I have feelings too. I feel for her, and them, and my sons and my mother and everyone else trapped in this DO NOT CONTACT restraining order of adoption reunion.
What am I supposed to do?
I believe I have been the educated, understanding compassionate natural mom. Perhaps even to a fault.
I have often wondered if my protecting (ahem, overprotecting) is a good idea. What would really happen if my mother emailed my daughter? Would she stop contact with me? Or might she soften up? Even though she drew this line, does she ever wonder why no one else has contacted her? (Um, cuz I told them not to?)
Crazy head feeling coming on. Must stop writing.