A blog reader emailed me privately tonight and asked me a question I have been asked several times over the past year. They asked (and these are their words verbatim):
“It seems like you are less involved in adoption issues. You are blogging less and I don’t see you at events and such like I used to. Whats up?”
At first, I winced at this. I felt it might be a judgment, a criticism, an expression of how I was failing “the cause”.
I felt defensive and instead of responding, I sat with it for a while. This is typically my response to such things. When something lights a fire in my belly, when it elicits a desire to strike back, and defend myself, I tend to stop, pause and take time to reflect, I question why I am feeling defensive and wonder if the truth might be that there is a shred of painful truth in what the person is suggesting and that I am denying it. I use such opportunities as a chance to look internally and self reflect.
I will share the most honest answer I can give at this time. I wont spout excuses (though they aren”t) about my busy life, my career, my children, my darling fiance, my college classes, or other. I will tell you the truth.
It simply hurts too much. Adoption slays me more today than it ever did.
Avoidance? Acceptance? Reality? Call it whatever you need to. But allow me to explain.
My divorce, my reunion, my therapy, it all taught me a valuable, yet painful, lesson.
It taught me how to feel. It taught me how to acknowledge and honor my feelings. It taught me I HAD feelings and more importantly that they MATTERED. Where prior to reunion I spoke from a place of cold intellect, post reunion, I speak from a place of the deepest pain I have ever felt. This is not due to my reunion, or my daughters decision to have no relations to me, her brothers, her natural family but rather it is due to the fact that opening your heart to feelings opens it to feelings of all kinds, good bad and otherwise.
To open my heart to my fiance, to accept the love he offers, the acceptance, the understanding, the ability to be, is to leave my heart open to all the things I have pretended were.not.there. It is to avoid denial. To refuse transference and projections. It is to sit with all that is good — and bad in my life and let it be.
And it simultaneously feels wonderful and hurts like hell. More than I have ever hurt before. Ever.
And I don’t know how to handle it (yet).
And so I stay away from adoption like a child stays away from an open flame after he has been burned.
I do not want to suggest this approach is appropriate or that I want it to be forever. But I acknowledge that it is. And for today, it has to be.