Overcompensating

Dawn has a really poignant post up about genograms and her family. I was very moved by most of it as I can relate to a great deal of Dawn’s family history.  My own family, on both sides, has been plagued with serious trauma for generations.  Difference between me and my ancestors is that I talk about mine and have been in therapy – by my own choosing – for nearly all of my adult life.  I want very much to break as much of the cycle as I can.

Reading Dawns post brought to mind a fairly recent situation where my own trauma impacted those around me. You will have to decide for yourself is this impact is positive or negative.

A few months back my ex husband expressed a concern regarding our youngest son.  Addressing the concern required a certain type of medical professional. Since my sons are covered under the fathers insurance, as primary, I asked my ex to source the professional that would be covered by his insurance coverage.

A month or so later my ex approaches me with a professional and some forms for us to fill out. Before even seeing the forms, I researched the professional background, qualifications, accreditation and such.  A few flags were raised in my head as the person, at least on first blush, appeared completely wrong for my son and our needs.

I waited for the papers to arrive.  More flags. Big flags. GINORMOUS RED FLAGS (to me).  The pre-appointment paperwork asked many probative questions about our son, and me, and my pregnancy, and more.  I was intensely, almost violently, uncomfortable with the idea of answering them.  Not only were they not at all applicable to my son and I, they were just plain “off”. I suppose a parent and child that were appropriate for this specialist would not find it so, but I did. This was not the kind of professional my son needed to see and I refused to answer any of those questions.

I strongly objected to my ex husband.  He was frustrated.  He had done a fair amount of legwork here and I was objecting. Time was passing and our son really needed to see a professional.

I pushed my views. I refused to see THIS person and asked for another referral. I consulted my therapist (wondering “Am I totally off? Is this really saying something about me and not about the professional?”).   I couldn’t do it.

At my continued objections, my ex finally asked if I would find someone. I did. I found several in fact and within 48 hours.

I called the top three candidates. I researched them online and I called other professionals I knew to inquire if they knew of the top three. Could they provide a reference?

I spoke with each one on the phone at length and explained our situation, needs and asked them to share their personal experience and recommended approach with me.

Once I was satisfied, I shared the top candidate with my ex and send him links, research and information on the candidates background so that he could perform his own assessment.

I set up an appointment for my ex and I to meet with the professional – prior to him meeting our son – so we (I?) could get a personal taste of him live and up close. I wanted to see how he dressed, spoke, decorated his office. I wanted to know his years of experience, types of clients, and ask him very specific questions.

Now, if you are thinking by now I may be a bit of a pain in the arse, its okay. I would agree. Yet, I want to explain why I feel I am like this.

The greatest trauma of my life is the loss of my daughter to adoption due to intense coercion and intimidation.  The loss of her effected every facet of my life. Equally important to note is that it is not only the loss but what CAUSED the loss and resulting trauma.  I could blame the agency. I could blame my parents and society. They all played a part.  Yet, so did I.

I was naive and trusting and ignorant.  I did not do any research on adoption. None. I never thought about what adoption does to children, what it means to not have your medical history or your original birth certificate. I never contemplated abandonment issues. I had no idea that adoptees are plagued with things such as borderline personality disorder, intimacy issues, and more. It never occurred to me that those angelic adoptive parents the agency bandied about might just be real people like me, and in fact, might be worse than me.

I could go on but hopefully you get my point. I was ignorant and too trusting. I was so convinced I was lower than pond scum  that I acted like it and suppressed any thinking ability I might have had. Scum doesn’t have brain cells, does it?

No more.

These days I over research. I question and challenge and probe and test, probably too much. I am likely the subject of many eye rolls and face palms. While he did not state such, I am okay with suggesting my ex husband probably wanted to strangle me during the last few weeks while we sourced the professional.

I cannot see myself any other way, particularly where my children are concerned.

My ignorance already harmed my daughter and I. I cannot let it do the same to my sons.

10 Thoughts.

  1. Let the eyes roll. Every consumer of professional services should be so informed. And in doing so, not only are you breaking the cycle of being “too trusting” in your own life, but you are modeling self-advocacy for your children and empowering THEM for the future. Xoxo.

  2. Adoption does affect us mothers on such a deep level. It affects every decision we make with our raised children. I was talking with my son last night who is 14. He didn’t think I liked his new gf so he left the house. Yes he just walked out and left. He texted me and said I was making him choose between his gf and me. When all I said was I don’t like it that his gf won’t tell her parents they are together. I just texted him and said I love you please come home. He replied no. So I went to look for him and found him. It made him run. I am freaking out on the inside but calm on the outside. I asked my huband to just bring him home but be gentle. My 14 year old came in and we talked. I told him how it scared me when he left I didn’t know where he was or if someone would kidnap him. I told him I already had one child that I did not know for years if she was alive or dead, happy or sad, I can’t live through that again. We both cried, hugged, and apolagized. The whole adoption crap has totally affected my parenting too.

    • Jeannette (that’s my sisters name!) – Hugs to you. I feel that pain. Reminded me actually of a post I wrote almost four years ago (you may not want to read it..but then again, may be it will make you feel comforted. You are not alone). Link below.

      Triggers

  3. Suz, please don’t second guess yourself. You absolutely did the right thing. This is especially true with the resources we have today at our disposal. Here’s and example for you. My husband has a serious disease the the tx that was suggested was in the experimental stage. I did tons of research in an effort to help him. We went ahead with the tx program and quit shortly after starting. We both took a tremendous amount of criticism for our decision. But guess what? Several years later the drug which had since been FDA approved was then banned due to serious side effects and death. So, go with your instincts and take whatever time you need to make sure you make the right decisions for your loved ones.

    Gail

  4. I applaud your thinking on this and your willingness to stand tough to do the best thing for your son. It’s worth being thought a “pain in the arse” by those who don’t understand. Where your need to research/be thorough came from isn’t important. Although I suspect moms like us are predisposed to do so.

    HUGS!

  5. i am saddened by what the face of adoption looked like back then. SO much has changed in just the last 5 years for birth moms and openness. I often wonder when my husband will want to meet his birthmom. He is 32 now and I’m not pushing him to do that even though he has met his birth sister and we know what state they live in etc…
    I am also interested in hearing my step mom’s story. She too placed about 34+ years ago. She talks very little about it.
    I have 2 cousins who placed in the last 4 years and both have great relationships with the AP’s. We have an extremely open with our daughters’ WHOLE birth family- 4 generations of them!
    So, when i read stories like yours, It makes me sick and sad for you. No one should ever be coerced into adoption or anything for that matter. I’m sure your birth daughter will be forever grateful you chose LIFE though!

  6. While I haven’t had more children after the loss of my daughter to adoption, I know that if I were in your shoes, I would research the heck out of everything, just as you do. I know this for a fact, because, well, I already Research the heck out of everything that comes up adoption related, health related, healing related, anything that piques my interest related. And, it’s for a similar reason… I don’t want to make an unreasearched decision that could traumatize myself or any other person ever again.

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