The Brush Off

“Reality continues to ruin my life.”” – Bill Watterson

A friend of mine, a dear darling first mom friend, was contacted recently by a young woman we believe may be her daughter.

My friend has been searching for quite some time and was understandably floored to receive an email from a young lady claiming to be her daughter. Said young lady provided some minor similar details, pictures and her story and the often read adoptee brush off.

Yeah, the brush off. Moms know this. I do.

This is bothering me.  Bothering me for my friend and bothering me for myself. Big mongo trigger.

I know the feeling. I know what is like to find or be found and be told in rather direct words:

“Okay, you got your look at me, now go away like a good little birth person and let me live my wonderful happy adoptee life. Oh, and btw, thank you so much for giving my wonderful parents such a wonderful gift. I am so awesome and they kiss the ground I walk on.  I had a wonderful life that I know I could never have had with you.  My parents are uber-wonderful and I have a fabulous life. I hope this note gives you closure and you can get on with your pathetic life and stop pining over me cuz like my life has been fantabulous without you and I have no intent of disrupting my utopian existence by letting you in on my life. Doing so would crush my lovely parents and you wouldn’t want to ruin the wonderful gift you gave them would you?  K? Good. Glad we got that straight. See ya. P.S. Attached are some pictures of me so you can get a really good visual along with this email. Don’t expect more. Don’t write me back. Just look at me and move on, k? Thanks. Oh, and could you let me know my medical history and if its not too much trouble, send me a picture of yourself and any other siblings I have. And please remember, I dont want anything from you so please dont expect anything in return.”

Clearly being sarcastic here (although many of these words are lifted and loaded from emails I or friends have received).

When I read the email that this young lady sent to my friend I was catapulted at the speed of light back nearly three years to my own reunion.

Yes, yes, I know. Before the adoptees come out of the woods and throw the spears of their reality at me, let me say this, wrong, right, justified or not, this shit hurts the mothers deeply. While the industry likes to portray us as some unfeeling, unemotional, cold metal and plastic incubators, WE ARE NOT. We hurt. We cry. We mourn. We ache for our children every day of our lives. (And those of us that don’t, are usually the ones that really do but are in such excruciating pain that they deny contact. I am rather adept at emotional flagellation and as such I can handle what many moms cannot.)

I have said before, for me, personally, no amount of book reading, psycho babble, has minimized the pain for ME. The feeling is always there. The feeling of being dismissed, marginalized, ignored, avoided, and lesser than. The only thing that Verrier and Lifton and all the other adoptee “experts” have done for me is allow me to understand their point of view sufficiently enough to respect the need for boundaries. I can understand that the adoptee need to dismiss their mothers is about them and their emotional stability and not about us HOWEVER it takes a great deal of work to stay in that zone.  Being discarded is still painful no matter the logic behind it. Being dismissed is an enormous trigger back to days gone by. Days when we were not needed, wanted, good enough, married enough, or other.

I remind myself regularly that my daughters decision to not develop a relationship with me does not negate the fact that I am a really cool person. I am funny, creative, intelligent, caring, resourceful, loving, a good friend, sister, daughter and an awesome mother. Her treatment of me does not change any of that.

What it does do is rip open old wounds.

Mothers like me? We were dismissed by our boyfriends, our family, our church, and all that were supposed to help us.  We (okay, I,) struggle immensely when our children continue the tradition – regardless the reason.

We really aren’t that awful, you know.

We just want to do what every mother wants. What every woman feels deep in her soul upon giving birth.

We want to love our children.

It hurts when they cannot accept us and the love we want to share.  Whatever the reason (and that includes not being given permission by their uber parents).

9 Thoughts.

  1. Good post, Suz: About time the other side says “whats up”
    Everyone frantically searching for open records. “I want my original OBC, I want to know my roots” Well, maybe I just want my medical history! Ummm, I think I’ll just peek around and watch her in this battlefield Im going to create. My emotions, against hers. Yeh! Im an adult now. You’re it!
    Wrong indeed. You are the scar I carry on my belly!

  2. This post emulates my feelings exactly.
    My daughter is now 8 yrs old and we have been separated for 7 years.people cannot even begin to understand how painful it is that i’ve lost out on those 7 years.i can never get them back.now im simply called Erika.not mommy.according to a-mother- shes happy.like im really the only idiot here who hasnt “moved on”.living in exile and being forbidden to have a relationship with my child is so excruciatingly painful.and when i read these stories they do not give me much hope for the future.you cant unbreak what you break sometimes.

  3. Suz, this post chilled my bones. So different from my experience with my son, the latch-on needy one. It makes me ashamed for ever having complained about that (although it does come with its own challenges).
    If I were in that situation — your friend’s, yours, so many other first moms — I wouldn’t be able to think straight enough to say this (or anything else). But what strikes me is the defensive posture. The fear that they might actually feel something. The inability to face their own demons, to get close. An adoptee left a couple comments on my blog saying that she would like contact with her mother, only to set her mother’s mind to rest, that she was fine, had a good life, yada yada. That she didn’t need anymore needy people in her life. I asked her why she assumed her mother would be needy? She didn’t answer.
    If an adopted person truly doesn’t want contact, doesn’t want to know, doesn’t want to explore a relationship, they would not search. IF they search and then protest too much… hmmm… doesn’t compute.
    To take a shot, given her daughter’s initial attitude, would take great courage. She might be opening herself up to a lot more pain. But it is the only way she will find out if there’s something there, something that might develop in time, once her daughter finds the courage to admit that she has feelings, that her life and parents weren’t so uber.
    It’s a risk. My son has hurt me a million times, but I have no regrets that I’ve hung in. I would take the risk. Otherwise, there is nothing.

  4. i think that your friend’s daughter is coming into this thinking that she has the whole situation figured out. she was told she had been given away, either callously or (the extreme in double-think) “out of love” (how to really screw up a child’s head – “She loved you so much she gave you up” — thus leading the child to believe that anyone who deeply loves her will walk out on her).
    my question is: did your friend surrender her willingly, without coercion? was she indeed “a gift”. If not, then your friend has every right to gently challenge this adoptee’s assumptions. it may rock the adoptee’s world to find out that she was not thrown — i mean “given” — away. she may never have considered that.
    is your friend acquainted with coercion methods? did she want to keep her baby? as a mother she may have some reflecting to do as to how much “willingness” she actually felt. the adoptee who is possibly her daughter obviously believes it was a freely made and fully-wanted choice, and is basing much of her “brush off” attitude on this assumption.
    http://www.originscanada.org/adoption_coersion.html
    http://www.originscanada.org/comparison.html
    and the problem is that many mothers who actually loved and wanted to keep their babies are still brainwashed into think it ‘was their choice’ when there was really NO choice at all. and a coerced choice is not a choice. if it WAS our choice to “place” our babies, who can blame an adoptee for doing the same thing to us and keeping us out of their lives as well? their minds might change if they find out that we wanted to keep them and were NOT either trash, unfit, or “cold-hearted abandoners.”

  5. “An adoptee left a couple comments on my blog saying that she would like contact with her mother, only to set her mother’s mind to rest, that she was fine, had a good life, yada yada. That she didn’t need anymore needy people in her life. I asked her why she assumed her mother would be needy? She didn’t answer.”
    I assume this is me. I never said I would like contact, I said that I would meet her if it would help her heal. I assumed she would be needy because of all the things I have read from mothers posted on various message boards. Thank you for really helping me close the door on that thought.

  6. Anon – you obviously have some needs of your own. otherwise, you would not know what “mothers posted on various message boards”. if you were 100% okay with your adoption experience, you would not be reading adoption message boards, the thought would never occur to you.
    seriously . . . would it be so bad to get to know someone who is related to you genetically? someone who looks like you and acts like you? someone who would know what you were thinking almost before you thought it? someone who knows how you will feel about a certain situation? because they know you from the inside out? because you are so very much like them? (believe it, studies have shown that adult adoptees are more like their first parents than their adoptive parents when it comes to personality traits.)
    it took my daughter a long time to get used to that. but i think she truly likes it. for example, in a thank you note for christmas gifts a few yearas ago, she writes “When I was opening them, I thought, ‘now here’s a woman who know what I like’ ” . . . in response to an email in which i wrote simply “earth to ______, are you okay?” she writes “Not ok but i will be, you always know”
    you see, it isn’t just a genetic connection that you have with your mom. there is a psychic connection as well. i had no idea why i worried so much when she was 8 years old and again when she was 16. but i now know why. i had good reason to be concerned for her during those times in her life.
    what i see in your post is fear. you are afraid to form a relationship with someone that you view as having abandoned you once. what makes it even more frightening is that you know in your heart of hearts that this person is someone you could become more attached to (in fact you are already attached, ask any psychologist, mother child bonding begins before birth) than anyone else on earth. and you fear being “abandoned” again.. and that would hurt more than care to admit, even to yourself.
    if, as you said, you have read what “mothers posted on various message boards”, then you know that most mothers did not willingly surrender their children. not the first time and believe me, having lived through the pain and loss the first time around, these mothers will fight so much harder not to surrender that relationship a second time. i am sorry that you choose to see that as being “needy”. you really are denying yourself the opportunity for what could be one of the best realtionships you will ever have in your life.

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