"There is only person motivated enough to reach the hurting child and change that destructive process – the mother whose love was so great at their first parting, that she sacrificed her own needs in the powerful, if mistaken belief that adoption was a choice for her to make.
She must now make another sacrifice, for that’s what real mothers do in the natural order of things – they put aside their own feelings of rejection in order to reach their hurting child, and they never concede the power of their own unconditional love. No surrender, no defeat, and only one rule of engagement – remember, it is always ethical to lie to the enemy – and the spoils to the victor of this particular battle are surely worth the struggle. – Voices From Exile "The Rocky Road of Reunion" Copyright © 2003 Joss Shawyer
A few questions and a few thoughts.
- If your found child returns your gifts, tells you they find them objectionable and they make them puke, should you still send?
- If your found child does not answer your email or is rude to you in email, should you still write them?
- If your found child tells you that you are not their mother, never will be their mother, should you still refer to yourself as their mother in discussions with them?
- If your found child tells you do not ever mail anything to my house, should you do so anyway?
There is a school of thought with many adoptees that mothers should FIGHT for their child. What this often, usually in fact, means is that we should fight WITH our child. If I were to do any of the things I question above, I am very confident it would make my daughter supremely pissed off. Is this how I fight for her? To fight with her?
The last time I heard from my daughter she was quite harsh with me. Many of the things she wrote me were off base and hurtful. I could have gone tit for tat with her. I could have told her she was wrong and mean and abusive. I did not. I believe, to the deepest darkest parts of my soul, that my daughter did not want to fight with me or hurt me. She wanted to be SEEN. She wanted me to see how complex this is for her. I pondered responding in kind and bickering and bantering. I did not. Instead along with a few paragraphs, I sent her two excerpts from my favorite poems or authors.
"I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it."
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
and from Henri Nouwen
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
I don’t fight with my children. I don’t tolerate them fighting with me. I don’t tolerate them fighting with each other.
I am not a fighter. Seriously. I will not argue with you, I will not tolerate being treated poorly, I will not send nasty grams. I don’t engage in on-line blog wars or forum nastiness. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I don’t look for it. I don’t gain anything from it. There was too much fighting and pain and anger in my childhood. There is too much fighting in the world at large. I can agree to disagree.
Talk to me. Discuss with me. Debate with me. Share with me. Don’t fight with me.
Fight with my daughter? Go against her wishes? I cannot.
My belief is that my daughter is not emotionally mature/ready/whatever to handle the realities of what was done to me and to her. She prefers to avoid it and by association – me. I am the physical manifestation of what she would prefer was not a part of her life.
I have told her she is welcome. I have told her I miss her, love her and worry about her. I have offered the honesty of her story. I have sent her pictures. She doesn’t want the pictures. She doesn’t read this blog. We are not friends in social networking places. She doesn’t want to know. Do I have the right to force her to know? To demand she see my truth? I think not. When my son was struggling with math in the second grade, I did not scream at him and holler and ask why he couldn’t understand. I did not call him stupid or get angry at him for not understanding the math I knew so well. I sat with him. I worked with him. I found others to teach him.I bought him books. I did not demand he sit there and figure it out simply because I knew the way to do it and he didn’t. I gave him the tools and the support to learn on his own.
Adoptees will tell me my daughters behavior is testing, fog, denial, normal. Only my daughter knows for sure. If she needs to protect herself from me, then I must help her do that. I help by not pushing myself on her or challenging her reality. I know all too well what it is like to do something against my will. I will NOT do that to my daughter and that includes meeting me, writing me or calling me. I don’t want a hostile witness as a daughter.
I believe what is KEY in my reunion recipe is that I am not going away. I am not lashing out at her and stalking her and harassing her and telling her how much her behavior hurts me. I am doing my best to understand, learn from other, take care of my own emotional shit and I am here. I will be here for her forever (Gods and health willing). Five years from now or ten years from now, I will be here.
I can guarantee you my arms and heart will still be open to her. My already flabby upper arms will be flabbier, my already low hanging large breasts will be lower but those arms will still pull her in close and deeply in inhale the smell of her skin and hair and feel her breath on my cheek. My beautiful green eyes maybe hidden behind glasses, but they will take in all her beauty and wonder and be awed by her presence. My ears will still stick out a bit too much but they will capture the sound of her voice and tuck it away in a special memory.
I will be here.
As I told her myself, I never wanted to leave her to begin with and I will never do so again.
For today, for now, I am fighting for her by fighting for me. I am taking care of me. I am doing what I need to do to heal myself and to make sure that the mother that hugs her in the future is the most amazing and wonderful mom possible. I am fighting to be a mother she would be proud to know. I am fighting for her brothers and their sanity in this world of adoption trauma. I am fighting the industry that rapes the souls of vulnerable women.
I will not fight my daughter. Fighting implies someone wins and someone loses.
We have both lost enough.