It Reminds Me of Me

“As long as one keeps searching, the answers come” – Joan Baez

Ugh.

Do I really want to read this book?

You Remind Me of Me: A Novel (Paperback)
by Dan Chaon (Author)

"Three lives viewed through a kaleidoscope of memories and secret pain assume a kind of mythical dimension in Chaon’s piercingly poignant tale of fate, chance and search for redemption. As he demonstrated in his short story collection Among the Missing, Chaon has a sensitive radar for the daily routines of people striving to escape the margins of poverty and establish meaningful lives. Here, a woman’s unsuccessful effort to rise above the pain of giving away an illegitimate baby, and to fight against mental illness and offer love to a second child, blights all their lives… "

I am about 100 pages in and wow, its tough.  Seriously tough.  The maternity home references, the character reaction to the home, her feelings, etc. are quite powerful and yeah, equally triggering.

Books like this take me some time to get through. While normally I can devour a book in an evening, a weekend or a few days, books like this get opened, closed, picked up, put down, cried on, thrown across the room and even at times given away or discarded. (The Primal Wound has taken quite a beating in my house and as of today it is not even here. I lent it to a cutie boy aDad friend of mine to read to better understand his adopted daughters).

I muse over this books and wonder why I read such things.  Is this my way to continually punish myself? To continually walk into the emotional torture room and self-flagellate? Or do I get some sort of healing from it? Am I stronger upon reading or weaker or somewhere in between?

What am I hoping to find in all this adoption trauma reading I do?  The answer? Some explanation? Some golden key to understand how and why this was done to my child and me?  Some healing balm that suddenly makes it alright?  Some explanation for why and how social workers who KNEW that separating mother and child was damanging – yet they did it anyway? Some understanding as to how Seymour Kurtz and his ring of baby thieves can sleep at night knowing what they did to so many mothers, children and adoptive families all in the name of the almighty dollar?

What am I looking for?

A friend recently told me she thought that her search for her mother, and eventually finding of her, would fix her. She thought she would feel whole and better and normal.  She doesn’t. While she is happy she found her mama, she still feels broken and twisted.

Normally, I would have hugged her, offered some inspirational words or resources or others to talk to.

I couldn’t. 

Her statement made me realize how broken and twisted I am as well.

4 Thoughts.

  1. Suz,
    So why do you and other reunited moms, like mine, keep punishing yourselves? How many books does it take for you to read, to write, to cry from, to share, to talk about, to stop beating yourself up? Is this filling up something in you that needs to be filled that your reunited child can’t fill? Or does being reunited with your child make you feel like you have to do this?
    Broken and twisted…wow, amen to that! But since being reunited, I am complete now.

  2. TheRightThing – Whos is there to punish? Society? The agencies? Who is to blame for this trauma that was endured by myself and my child?
    My child is not required or able to fix me or fill any voids. She has already lived that once for someone else. So, no, I dont expect her to fill anything. As for being reunited, no, that did not contribute to my pain either. It has always been there.
    I am not sure if you were trying to be confrontational or supportive. Hard to interpret the words. Regardless, I am happy for you that you are complete and that all it took for you to feel whole was reunion with your mother. As like most thing adoption, I am sure you know, that isnt the case for all. Our experiences are as unique to each one of as our DNA chains are. Reunion heals some people – others it makes things worse for.
    Congrats on your successful reunion.

  3. Suz,
    I am definitely not a confrontational adult adoptee. The reason I asked such questions is because I feel the hurt that my mother has and the hurt that you have. While I was reading your post today, my chest kept getting tighter and tighter and my stomach in knots because of the pain that many natural mothers still have and I wished that us adoptees could take that pain away in an instant.
    For many, many years, I blamed myself for my mother’s relinquishment. Yes, I know now that I had nothing to do with it, but growing up I just knew it had to be because of me and that she couldn’t have a relationship with me because of me.
    I too could start blaming everyone, but have decided that either I could do that until the day I die or put my energy from being upset with the system into my relationship with my mother and my family.
    My comment was not meant for you to think I was asking you if you expected anything from your daughter. What I should have wrote was are the books or stories that you read fill the void or help relieve the trauma a little, a lot, or none at all? If not, why do you (and when I say you I mean “all mothers”) keep reading it and punishing yourself? It is like an open wound that can’t heal because you won’t let it heal or you won’t put the right medicine on it. Why don’t mothers allow their relinquished children to help them heal? Can we be the medicine on a wound?
    I also commented because your questions were very valid questions and my mother asks the same questions. I don’t know how to answer them when she asks and if I do answer them it is not the right answer for her. So why do mothers keep punishing themselves for something that they had no control over and will the punishment ever stop?

  4. Hi Suz,
    I stopped. All of it (except your blog..but that’s because I like the way you think ;oP). I just couldn’t do it anymore – it completely consumed me and I wondered the same… was it healing or hurting? The answer was both. At this point in my life with all of my work and home responsibilities denial seems to be the safest option. I know that eventually I will have to face the demons.. I’m just not certain I have the strength or that my relationship with my son is strong enough at this point.

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