Part 1: Co-Parenting with Adoption Loss

“Is there any history of tics, OCD, depression…in your family?” the doctor asks.

“Uh…”

I pause in my answering as I think about my immediate family. We often thought that the addiction issues several family members once struggled with were rooted in depression. Should I mention that? It is not official, just a guess, a desire to explain the unexplained. Will it help the present situation or hurt it?

How about the social anxiety I have struggled with since childhood? Or perhaps, my personal, self-diagnosis that I struggle with a sensory processing disorder? Maybe I should mention the sporadic depressive episodes over the past twenty seven years due to adoption trauma? The PTSD diagnosis? Situational? Dispositional?

“No.” I decide to answer. The other issues don’t really seem relevant to the topic at hand. No sense opening up that line of question and answering.

“What about your oldest child?” Doctor asks.

Momentarily confused, I stumble. I assume he is referring to my oldest son. I start to answer with a strong “No” but reconsider.

“I don’t know”

“Hmmm? You don’t know?” he says with a concerned voice as he looks up and over his rather professorial looking glasses.

“Yes, as I noted on the forms, while we know where she is, there is no relationship. We know who and where but not h..hh..how.”

My voice is quivering; my eyes get that blocked feeling caused by tears welling up and being held back.

“Well, is it possible to ask her? Give her a call? Send her an email? It would help to know.”

His ignorance annoys me. A flash of anger mixes in with the quivering voice.

“No.” I respond firmly.

For a brief second I reflect on the last time I asked for personal information that might help her brother, at that time it was my other son. There was no reply then. I am confident there would be no reply now. I am responsible for providing her with her family medical but there is no expectation of reciprocity. No. It is not possible. I could certainly ask, or email, but it won’t be answered. No.

“No?”

“No.”

I think I see him capture himself in the process of a shrug just as he scribbles something on his clipboard. I wonder what he wrote.

Awareness

Driving the short distance from the neuropsychologist office to the pediatrician I muse over the forms, conversations and myriad tests my son and I have been completing. He has been such a strong little boy. His big brown eyes and massive cheek dimple come to my mind and causes me to smile. A second later I sigh. He is unaware of it but he is stronger than I am, at least at this particular moment.

The situation is getting to me, keeping me up at night, distracting me from work. As per my standard MO, I am thinking too much. I don’t like the suggestions being made, the implications, the possible treatments.

Walking to the office door, I realize it is exhaustion. I am tired, deeply bone tired, of doctors’ visits, forms, conversations with my ex-husband, and providing explanations to my current husband. I do not want to conduct any more Google searches for conditions and medications. I do not want to share any more of my history, my sons history or note the fact that I don’t know my daughters. I just want to sleep a few hours; maybe half a day. I want people to stop asking me for things. The cool project I am assigned to at work? I would like that to go on hiatus as well. Can we push back the global release date so Suz can get some sleep? I want silence, not a barrage of content defect reports coupled with a continual stream of questions from my translators located all over the world. I want to permanently boycott 4 am calls to India and late night calls to Korea. I hunger for a day of catching elusive Z’s with my large lime green and brown comforter wrapped around me and over my head. I want to suffer from the turtle headache I always get when I sleep with my blanket over my head. Such an annoyance would be welcome for it would suggest I found sleep.

I want to turn the world off for just a little while, uno momento,  as my translator in Spain might say.

The receptionist sitting behind the light colored wood desk is Shontae. I remember her from our last visit. She had great jewelry on then as well.

“Hi, I called last week and spoke to Jeanette about picking up a prescription for my son? She said I would get a call when it was ready to pick up but I haven’t. I was in the area so I thought it would be easier to stop by.” I ask.

“Name” she asks rather rudely. Only it was more of a statement than a question and I am confused. Name what? Name the prescription? Name of my child? I opt for both.

I answer with a similar tone. I am so not in the mood for this today. Shontae leaves the desk to rummage through large legal folder on the counter behind her. Finding my sons name, she pulls out a small white envelope.

“Dr. needs to see him within a week of first starting the medicine. Do you want to make that appointment now?”

“Sure”.

“What” she says, again with the flat effect. Does this girl covered in Tiffany silver jewelry have any inflection in her speech?

“What?” I have no idea why she is saying “what”.

“I asked you if you wanted to make an appointment now” comes the retort, a bit too snotty for my liking.

Ah, there you go, good girl. You can speak with inflection, I think to myself.

“And I SAID YES.” I respond with equally bitchy tone that was perhaps a teeny bit too loud. The toddler playing with the crayons at the table stops drawing and looks up at me first, then to his mother.

A few more exchanges of flat and not so flat conversation tones and the appointment is scheduled a week out. Leaving the office, prescription in hand, thoughts concerning it swirling in my head, it hits me like a tidal wave. We don’t have to accept this but if we wish to, we can. It is an option from the experts.

I understand, at least in part, why the events of the past few months are bothering me so much.

I get to my car and after closing the door and clicking my seat belt into place, I burst into tears.

4 Thoughts.

  1. Sign of a very gifted writer: they leave you wanting more. As a reader it’s like: noooooooo!!! Don’t stop writing, keep going.
    Can’t wait to read Part 2 Suz.

  2. Suz, this just breaks my heart. Nothing is simple after adoption, right? All I can do is send you hugs and wishes that things work out for your son. And P.S. wonder why so many employees in almost all occupations are so bitchy these days…

  3. Hi Suz, Just want to say I’ve been reading your blog and think you’re a great writer. Please consider writing your memoir one day. It is important for people to know how adoption affects members of our generation and future generations. On a lighter note, I was class of ’86 so could relate to much of your history, including the big hair! What were we thinking with the perms?

    • Hello and welcome ZB! Thank you for the kind words. I can tell you that writing a book is on my radar and I did start it last year as part of a writing group I was attending. My life has since gotten insanely busy with my professional life, parenting, etc and it has been put on hold. I hope to get back to it. So much I have not shared! As for the perms, oy. No comment. : )

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