Beggars and Choosers

“Beggars cannot be choosers” is categorized as a proverb. Did you know that?  Proverbs to me are some sort of Asian inspirational piece of wisdom. Is that the case with beggars and choosers? It never seemed to be inspirational to me, more like a sarcastic statement on a pathetic situation. As in take what you can get and suck it up.

According to Wikipedia, a related phrase is “When resources are limited, one must accept even substandard gifts.”  The substandard word adds an interesting twist to this post for to me it exemplifies what I want to illustrate.

A few days ago a blog reader (that I really like and admire) wrote me a private email and said the following:

You have never had a reunion.  It’s the reunion that never happened.

You have nothing to lose by begging your daughter for just one hour.     You have already lost it all.

Suz, take a risk and beg her.  I wish you would as you greatly deserve a happily ever after.”

Apologies to the writer but… beg her? Um, no.

I fully accept that the friend who suggested this has my best interests at heart. While I have never met her IRL, what she has shared of herself with me leads me to be very confident I would like her very much if were to meet and become F2F friends.  My resistance to “begging” my daughter to meet me has nothing to do with said friend and everything to do with me, my beliefs, my personal view of myself, and perhaps most importantly, my self-esteem.

Let’s think about this. Let’s start our thinking by dissecting the word “beg” (cuz the word nerd inside me? Well she does these sorts of things).

Dictionary.com:

beg
[beg] verb, begged, beg•ging. verb (used with object)
1.to ask for as a gift, as charity, or as a favor: to beg alms; to beg forgiveness.
2. to ask (someone) to give or do something; implore: He begged me for mercy. Sit down, I beg you.
3. to take for granted without basis or justification: a statement that begs the very point we’re disputing.
4. to fail or refuse to come to grips with; avoid; evade: a report that consistently begs the whole problem.

“To ask for a gift, charity or a favor”
Meeting her in real life, again, is not a gift, a charity or a favor, at least not in my opinion. Viewing it as such objectifies her, yet again, makes her an object of desire, an object that can make me happy and whole, much like adopting her may have made her infertile adoptive mother.  I do not view her that way and I will not objectify her in such a manner. She is a living breathing human being not some salve, some bees’ balm to heal my wounded heart. She is my child not the happiness elixir for my life. I am responsible for my life and my happiness and only I can make it a fulfilling one. To suggest my child can do so for me, is to objectify children.  I realize those that sell children and some who adopt do view them as objects.  I do not. My daughter is my child, my DNA, a part of me, an extension of me, an yet also a  sentient being all to herself and to suggest she is gift, a charity, or an object is offensive to me.  It dehumanizes me (the maker of that gift) and her as well.

“to ask (someone) to give or do something”
I have asked my daughter, many times, to meet, to talk, to converse. For nearly eight years, she has refused.  I accept that even if I hope for different. Whatever her reasons are (regardless of whether you and I may find them acceptable), I believe they must be respected. I don’t like my daughters’ decisions but I do feel I must respect them. She is not a child. I realize everyone wants to minimize her decision not to meet by saying “she is sooooooooooooo young”. I say that is statement rests along side a hot steamy pile of cow manure. She is 26 years old. She is no longer a baby.  Her decisions are adult ones.

Now that I have dissected parts of the dictionary.com definition, I will share something more personal.

Since the day I contacted her I have gotten the feeling, in her words and her actions (or lack thereof) that my daughter considers me a pathetic needy fuck up of a woman. Society may have taught her this, perhaps her adoptive parents did, and maybe it is a projection of some sort, transference or other.  Maybe she came upon this by her own thinking based on this blog, my emails, and the gifts I have sent.  Why she may think that, if she thinks that,  is not as important as is the fact that I feel she does.

I am not, and never was, a needy fuck up of a woman. Vulnerable? Yes. Naïve? At times, yes.  Preyed upon? Yes. Suffering from low self esteem? At times, yes. A bad mother? Never. Fucked up? Never.  However, that is the impression I get from the few emails she sent me.  She feels responsible for me, as if her birth and adoption broke me, ruined my life, fucked me up beyond definition and only she can fix me and she does not want the job.  Yes, I have had issues with adoption trauma but ADOPTION, the loss of her, Easter House, the lies told to me, the isolation, deceit, caused that pain — not her. Therefore she could never fix it and should never be held responsible for it.

Those that know me will be screaming at this point that I am far from fucked up but you will be missing a key point.  You know me. She doesn’t. She chooses not to. Until she does, if she ever does, I believe she may find comfort in the idea that I am some sort of a frail needy woman sucking my own snot rag as I reach helplessly for nearby walls.

I don’t want, or need, my daughter to feel sorry for me. I don’t want her to meet me as any kind of favor, or charity. I don’t want her to feel her meeting me will “fix me” as adopting her may have fixed her adoptive mother (if it did, I don’t know). I want her to meet me because she wants to, not because she has been forced by my pathetic begging. If she never wants to, if she never has that adoptee curiosity, never wants to know her brothers, her medical history, or where she got her hair color addiction and fabulous green eyes, that is her prerogative, her choice.

So friend, forgive me, but I will not be a beggar.

I will forever allow her to be a chooser.

Suz Bednarz

Mother of three - first child surrendered to baby broker in 1986 and found online in 2005. Family preservationist and supporter of open records. Founder of ehbabes.com a search and support site focused on family members separated by the Kurtz network of agencies. Chronic hair colorer, lover of silver gothic inspired jewelry, writer, feminist, activist, socially anxious Gemini.

14 Comments

  1. I don’t know much but I do think that your stance offers a better long term goal if there ever is a reunion. When you start out begging, you are in a subordinate role and you are giving away your equality footing. You put it out there, you’ve done your part – if she comes to you, it needs to be on even ground. She needs to want to do this, not do you any favor. It’s hard to develop a relationship if someone is the beggar of another for crumbs.

    I’m sorry she has the wrong impression and all I can do is hope she finds her way here – or finds a way to know the wonderful woman you are.

    • (and I say that having been the beggar in other non-adoptive relationships where I ended up worse than I started)

  2. I could really relate to your post. I’m not sure at this point what my daughter thinks of me or if she will ever want to meet me. Part of my recovery has been about self empowerment. All I can do is let her know I will always love her and that my door will always be open. Thank you for putting this into words so succintly.

  3. Hugs. I so agree with your choice not to beg. I often feel like I have gained much from your lack of reunion with M. I won’t feel guilty, but I sure as hell am grateful. I treasure knowing you & maybe one day she will too, or she won’t. , I admire your strength to live each day with intention & not hinge your world on her approval, rather relish your own self worth because you are f*cking awesome! :)

  4. If only the adoptees who desperately want reunion, such as myself, were the ones who also had their birthmoms desperately wanting the same thing.

    I am sad your daughter is missing out knowing a wonderful person(as far as I can tell from your blog)for whatever her reasons may be. It hurts to read your blog and the only thing you want is a relationship with your daughter and all I want is a relationship with my mother. I wish my felt the same as you. Like you, I refuse to beg my mom to want to be apart of my life. I would like to say its her loss but I am missing out too. It’s hard not to be angry and have times when I wish begging was the key. It just isn’t. I don’t want her to feel forced into reunion. She knows how to he ahold of me. She has met me. She knows how I feel about her and that my door is open, always. That my intentions are only to build a relationship from this point on in whatever manner that may be.

    I keep my fingers crossed that one day we both are able to have relationships with the people we miss <3

  5. OMG!!!! You expressed my reunion life with your words. It is exactly how I feel that my daughter thinks of me.

    “Since the day I contacted her I have gotten the feeling, in her words and her actions (or lack thereof) that my daughter considers me a pathetic needy fuck up of a woman.”

    I have no idea why I haven’t ever been able to express it like that. “Light bulb” moment.

    I totally understand, I am going to Grand Rapids to a seminar for work and I will be within 5 minutes of where she lives and works. I WILL NOT lower myself by begging her to meet me. You KNOW I get you!!!
    xoxo

    • Wait, what? Kristy, you arent that? (Kidding. I know far better). Hugs to you girlfriend. Enjoy Grand Rapids.

  6. (((SUZ))) Well stated. I applaud your stance even though I wish your daughter’s were different.

  7. I can’t help but think as I read this that it is so much easier for everyone to believe that we mothers who lost are children are pathetic, needy, fuck-ups. Because if we aren’t, well, doesn’t that mean that we could have raised our children? And if we could have raised our children, then why did they need to be adopted?

    So much easier to believe that we deserved to lose our children and adoption is all sweetness and light.

    • I agree completely Eileen and intend to expand on this. This belief certainly props up everyones denial of what is really happening, isnt it? So much easier for the industry, adoptive parents, adoptees, others to blame us than to look at the system, themselves, etc.

  8. I could just really squeeze you to bits. (In a loving way.) I’m always touched by your respect for your daughter. The fact that you continue to make that choice…to respect her…speaks so deeply of your character. xo

  9. Oh Suz. You are very wise. I could squeeze you to bits too. You always make me think, and sometimes make my cry, like today. When I was planning on placing my daughter it was precisely because I felt I was a pathetic needy fuck-up of a woman and I wanted better for her. I was afraid I would fuck her up as well. I still fear this on occasion but so far she seems fine. :) She is almost 15 now. When I read that your daughter was 26 it made my heart ache for you. I hope and wish that someday the two of you can sit across a table from each other and look into each other’s eyes.

  10. I think your daughter’s view of you is part of the adoption mythology that she has accepted as truth for whatever reason. She wouldn’t be the only one. I think some adoptees have swallowed this pov more than even they realize.

    Adoption is so much about – better than.

    I agree with you completely, no begging. Does the person who suggested this have first hand experience with adoption? (You don’t have to answer.)

  11. Suz, you are far removed from being a pathetic, needy, fucked up person. Conversely, you are courageous, gutsy, thoughtful, kind and generous. It’s truly a loss for your daughter that she is not able for whatever reason to take advantage of the love you have to offer.

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