My Reality

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.

For now.

Semi Wordless Post

Spent the day with a dear friend today. She is in the picture below (left) and I am right. She is one of the many Easter House adoptees I helped to reunite.  She, like me, has not had an ideal reunion but she has no regrets in her search and is glad she found her mother.

I am personally glad I found her and was later able to find her mother for her.  Having friends like her, friends who “get it”, friends that you can cry and scream and rant about adoption with, make the pain much less.

Love you GF!

Amazing Fabulous Friend and Me.

LIMBO: On the Edge of Emotional Hell

Limbo, or the Latin root word from which is comes, limbus, (literally an edge or boundary, as in  the edge of hell… think about that when pondering adoption reunion limbo) is a Catholic theology concept.  It is a concept I was taught at a very young age during my Sunday catechism classes at Holy Name of Jesus Christ This is a Conservative Catholic Church.  Limbo of Infants, to me, at my young age, created an internal visual of naked babies with adorable pinchable dupas  floating around in cloudy blue skies with no way to go up (heaven) or down (hell) just round and round, back and forth, slowly, repetitively, with no hope (hence the edge of hell part).  There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of babies, floating in the skies of my head being slowly tortured by the repetitive floating and pointless movement beyond their power to control. Why?

It was my understanding (then and now) that you were sent to limbo because you had died prior to being baptized.  Baptism “cured” you of the original sin you were born with.  (Random side note:  Even as a child I thought this original sin stuff was a crock.  Why would God create something so perfect but then damn it with original sin before it has taken its first breath. Yeah, yeah, I know the biblical explanations. But let me tell you, as a precocious five-year old I found the Catholic God to be a bit of a dunce.  Why wasn’t the omniscient one able to make us perfect?  I later decided it was a pious insurance policy.  Seems as long as we were born sinful, shameful and guilt full and never able to cease ourselves from falling prey to that, we were forever reliant on him to clean us up. God really needed a lesson from Deming in Total Quality Management. But I digress. Enough of my precocious five-year old behavior and please no preaching from my “saved” readers. Just tsk tsk me, say a prayer for me and please keep reading.)

If you happened to die before you were baptized well then you were sent to Limbo. You weren’t good enough to go to heaven yet not bad enough to go to hell.

Sound familiar?

In adoption limbo you are not good enough to be considered as part of your family members life but not bad enough to be told to book a ticket on the next train to Hades. Rather you are fated to float around and around, hither and yon, to and fro, on the edge of emotional hell. As is the case with religious limbo, you are excluded from the beatific vision, the immediate knowledge of Gods and spirits in Heaven or in the case of adoption reunion limbo – the immediate knowledge and beauty of your family member.

In the religious context, some believe that limbo is a state of maximum natural happiness, while others believe it to be the mildest punishment (for like, uh, what? Dying as an infant before some god fearing adult baptized you? How is that fair? Oops, digressing again.).

As a mother in adoption reunion limbo, I can confidently state if feels, to me, like the strongest of punishment. It feels worse than outright rejection. It feels like torture. Emotional waterboarding.  It feels as if my daughter is continuing the work of my parents, the priest, the agency, the maternity home workers, even her own father. It feels as though I am bad, wrong, evil and I must be punished. It feels as though my daughter is God and I am at her mercy. I refused to be beat down by the others before her and she is here to finish the deed.

She controls this reunion and as such she controls my happiness.

Or does she? (I sense that precocious early agnostic five-year old coming to life again).

Intellectually I don’t believe she does. Getting my heart in line with my head is another matter.

In my next post, I will explain why.

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