"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away". ~Raymond Hull
A dear adoptee friend of mine is on her way to meet her natural mother for the second time in her life. My friend says she is meeting her for the first time but I gently remind her that it is her second time. And she laughs and agrees.
Like so many of the adoptees I have helped reunite, she is nervous about what to wear, say, how she will look. She is anxious to meet her half sister and her extended family. She is afraid she wont measure up to the college educated half sister. My friend did not finish college and is now a married SAHM of two.
Her anxiety was palpable even through cyberspace. I just wanted to hug her. I see this anxiety so often and I find it so unnecessary – at least if she were my daughter.
I understand that at her core my friend feels that since she was not “good enough” at 2 weeks old to keep and love, she may not be good enough at 20 something years old either. If they “threw her away” then, they might throw her away now.
Understandable logic but kind backwards, if I dare say so. It’s not the adoptee that was not good enough. It was the mother (allegedly), the mother’s family, society, the church, our social programs and the laws that were not good enough. It’s never our children. In fact, mothers like me are told outright that are children ARE good enough but for someone else – and not us. We are the problem – not them. Yet somehow, in all this adoption deceit, the message gets relayed to the child as they are/were not good enough. It is said that we should judge a nation by the way it treats its women and children. I don’t think I am far off by saying the USofA is failing miserably in many areas.
I shared with my friend my own reality of meeting my daughter. I told her my fantasy of what our first meeting would be like. I also told her that none of my expectations or anxieties about meeting has anything to do with my child. No matter who she is, what she looks like, says or does, I will be in awe of her. All mothers are in awe of their children. No?
If my daughter was a drug addict, I would love her unconditionally.
If she was 500 pounds, pimple faced, with the mouth of a trucker, I would love her.
If my daughter was a high school drop out, had 15 kids all from different men, or even gay, I would love her.
(Although, I admit I am still struggling with the smoking thing).
It’s who you are not what you are, to me. It’s not what you wear, how you walk, where you to went to college, what your GPA was or is. It is not who your friends are, how big your home is, or where you vacation.
I simply don’t care.
Nor do most of the moms I know. We have waited a lifetime to hold our children again. We have not waited forever to see if they wear Crocs or Ferragamos. That stuff just doesn’t matter.
Our children are our children. It is unconditional.
Even as I say that I realize that may be the very thing my friend is struggling with. She has never felt unconditional love. She was always been judged, forced to fit where she did not, and corrected by her adoptive parents. She was asked why she could not be like her non adopted siblings. Why didn’t she behave like them? Think like them? Like what they liked. Why was she such a HUGE disappointment by getting married and having babies instead of going to college?
My friend, like many adoptees, lived a life of trying to fit into someone else’s dreams. Square peg in a round hole trying to be the ghost child her aparents couldn’t have on their own.
Naturally, the learned behavior would transfer to her natural family. But it’s simply not true. Not in her case (I happen to also know her natural mother). Not in mine and I would guess not in countless others.
I joked with a friend once (also on the eve of meeting her first mother for the second time) that her first mom would not care what she did. She could fart and her mother would be filled with glee. (Think of all the passed gas we missed for all those years?).
As moms who lost so much precious time with our babies, every moment, every word, every wink of an eye is golden. As I told another friend, she could pull over on the Jersey Turnpike to relieve herself at a rest stop and her mother would be happy to stand by.
It is unconditional, pure joy.
My advice to my friend? To be herself. Completely and utterly herself. Don’t worry about what you are wearing, how you speak, what your education is. Your mama wants to hug on you and love you not judge you or force you to be something you are not.
And also, should the need arise, fart at will.