Craving an Ounce of Something

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul.
– Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)

I think alot about mothers who have rejected their children upon reunion. I often wonder what they think when they are doing that.  Did they always know they would refuse contact or is it a knee jerk reaction upon being found that they later don't know how to get out of and go back on? I wonder if they spend as much time thinking about their children they avoid as I do thinking about the daughter who avoids me.

Are they able to truly erase the memory of their child from their minds or do they get intermittent flashes and panic attacks like I do on a regular basis? What are they afraid will happen to them if they accept contact with their child that has found them? Will they be shamed again? Sent away again? Perhaps be at risk of suicide? Will the pain of reunion be so crippling for them that they cannot function and must be prescribed medication? Do they fear divorce?

I wonder, often, what they feel for there are many times I wish I could live in their world. I wish I had one ounce of denial and avoidance in my blood. Maybe I would be happier? Maybe I would sleep better? Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have to listen to the assinine things people say to me when they find out I surrendered my first born to adoption for a "better life",  found her 18 years later and was not welcomed by her or her adoptive family.

Having just come off a holiday where you see lots of people and rehash lots of family history, and having suffered a few more blows to my reunion ego, I find myself so flipping tired of comments like the following. I realize these comes from the mouths of individuals completely ignorant of the trauma of adoption and the complexity of reunion but you know, for once, I wish some people would keep their effin mouths shut.

Yesterday, and during the years of my reunion, I have heard the following from people:

  • What? You found her and she doesn't want to know you? What did you do to her?

  • Maybe she was molested by her adoptive father. Maybe she was physically abused by them and she doesn't want you to know what you did to her.

  • Maybe her adoptive mother is a total nutter and has threatened to commit suicide if your daughter has contact with you.

  • Maybe she is gay? (As if that would matter?)

  • Maybe she is "retarded", you know? Maybe she is mentally ill.

  • Maybe since she got to know you a little bit she is quite convinced that her adoptive mother is indeed the better mother and she has no need of you?

  • Maybe you are too fat for her, you know? She is very thin herself. Maybe you physically gross her out.

  • Who doesnt want to know their mother? Their "real" flesh and blood? What is wrong with her?

  • Maybe they told her awful things about you and she is just living what she learned. All children are told to stay away from strangers and monsters. Maybe you are both?

  • Maybe she is one of "those" types. (I have no idea what this is supposed to mean)

  • Well, frankly, if you abandoned me to strangers I think I would avoid you too. What do you do for your second act?

  • Well, clearly, her adoption worked. She was better off without you. We told you that years ago.

I am not sure who is more insulted by these statements, my daughter or me.

I have never been able to formulate appropriate responses to these types of statements. I am simply flabbergasted at the insensitivity and cluelessness but can I really hold these adoption innocents accountable for their own stupidity? Many would argue that times like  this present the perfect opportunity to educate people. I beg to differ. When you are hurled over gasping from the pain of an emotional dagger thrown into your heart, it is very difficult to find the strength to pick up a copy of Primal Wound or Girls Who Went Away and educate the morons that stand in front of you.

8 Thoughts.

  1. I just tell them they are a fu$ki!g idiot and they have no idea what they are talking about. Is that mean? Too bad.

  2. Since my reunion has been very on/off over the past several decades, I’ve been able to glean a bit of what’s going on for my own birthmother. I think, rather I KNOW that her denial is a form of self preservation. She truly believes that she is better off doing this major compartmentalization of her life, and that if she were to truly examine/look at it/me, it would be Too Much for her. It’s the only way she knows how to emotionally survive. There is a lot of painful truth and history in adoption and many, probably including your daughter, feel that it is easier to look away than to directly step into that pain. It doesn’t make it any easier to endure, but I do feel that over these years I have come to somewhat understand and more or less accept.

  3. [“Well, clearly, her adoption worked. She was better off without you. We told you that years ago.”]
    That’s very, very similar to what my sister told me.
    “You got the better deal. What else is there to say? Your adoption worked out perfectly and you are on the good side. Things are better there. You have a good mother and father. Things clearly worked out as best they could have.”
    ARGH.

  4. Of course you can hold these knobs accountable for their stupidity. Really, what else is there to say in the face of your story except “I’m sorry” or “That must be really hard”? It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to recognize that you’re telling a story of grief, deserving of the standard grief-experience responses.
    Though lord knows people spout the stupidity after someone dies too, so maybe I’m giving humanity too much credit.

  5. Reading those comments you heard hurt just to read them…they remind me of what adoptee’s hear too and just don’t know what to say. If we speak up and disagree we are considered ungrateful and we should just be glad we weren’t aborted.
    My 3 yr old made up a song the other day ~ mind you I never use the word “crap” but his song went “crap crap crap, crap crap crap, crap crap crap crap crap” ~ I think that sums it up!

  6. As a volunteer searcher, i have found moms who wish to reunion, who reject the child who searched for them. Invariably, once I have talked to them mother-to-mother, the reason is that they are MUCH too traumatized to be able to handle reunion. The only way they can survive is dissociation from reality, surviving in “the adoption fog” where you can construct an alternate reality that it all did not take place or if it did, then it can’t affect you. And, knowing the pain that results when one “wakes up” from that dissociation (fog), how can I blame them? It was only upon reunion that the flashbacks started for me, the crying from unbelievable pain. How can I wish that on anyone?

  7. It’s positively mind-boggling that people have said these things to you. But then again, what many people think about adoption generally is positively mind-boggling, too. Although I’m usually a proponent of education, these kinds of statements merit a plank upside the head first and foremost.

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