In Remission?

“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.” – Arthur Gordon

I recently expressed concern to my therapist that I seem to care less and less about the absence of my daughter from my life.

Is this normal? Is this good? Is this healing? Avoidance? Or might it be, as Cedar suggests in a related post comment, dissociation?

I will admit it bothers me. I fear that my lack of chronic pain will result in a lack of feeling completely. It is often said that the opposite of love is not hate but apathy. Have I become apathetic? Is that possible?  If you are not agonizing over the absence of your child nor enjoying a relationship with them, what are you?

My therapist tells me I am being ridiculous (well, he did not use those words but that is what I took away from it). He asked me if I really truly felt it was possible for a mother NOT to care about her child. Of course I don't.

He asked me to reflect on the many years I have worried about her – even before I knew where she was, how she was and what she was now called.

I got his point – sort of.

Yet I still worry. I had so much love in my heart when I first found her. So much excitement. I had a huge desire to run to her and meet her and smell her and hear her laugh. I frantically, regularly checked out her myspace, her flickr, her facebook when it was public. These days I have forgotten the URLs of many of them.

Is this good, bad or neither?  Is this a new normal? Am I caring less because I am hurting less? Does a lack of hurt equate to a lack of love? Is my therapy, my self work, contributing to this? Or is it that as I approach the fourth year in reunion with a daughter that I have not met or spoken to since the third day of her birth, I have finally found a way to live peacefully without her?

Have I accepted what is?

Is this healing?

Adoption trauma remission?

And what does the future hold? If the day should come that she chooses to meet me, does the pain start again ? Will I be lackadaisical or something else entirely?

Craving an Ounce of Something

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul.
– Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)

I think alot about mothers who have rejected their children upon reunion. I often wonder what they think when they are doing that.  Did they always know they would refuse contact or is it a knee jerk reaction upon being found that they later don't know how to get out of and go back on? I wonder if they spend as much time thinking about their children they avoid as I do thinking about the daughter who avoids me.

Are they able to truly erase the memory of their child from their minds or do they get intermittent flashes and panic attacks like I do on a regular basis? What are they afraid will happen to them if they accept contact with their child that has found them? Will they be shamed again? Sent away again? Perhaps be at risk of suicide? Will the pain of reunion be so crippling for them that they cannot function and must be prescribed medication? Do they fear divorce?

I wonder, often, what they feel for there are many times I wish I could live in their world. I wish I had one ounce of denial and avoidance in my blood. Maybe I would be happier? Maybe I would sleep better? Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have to listen to the assinine things people say to me when they find out I surrendered my first born to adoption for a "better life",  found her 18 years later and was not welcomed by her or her adoptive family.

Having just come off a holiday where you see lots of people and rehash lots of family history, and having suffered a few more blows to my reunion ego, I find myself so flipping tired of comments like the following. I realize these comes from the mouths of individuals completely ignorant of the trauma of adoption and the complexity of reunion but you know, for once, I wish some people would keep their effin mouths shut.

Yesterday, and during the years of my reunion, I have heard the following from people:

  • What? You found her and she doesn't want to know you? What did you do to her?

  • Maybe she was molested by her adoptive father. Maybe she was physically abused by them and she doesn't want you to know what you did to her.

  • Maybe her adoptive mother is a total nutter and has threatened to commit suicide if your daughter has contact with you.

  • Maybe she is gay? (As if that would matter?)

  • Maybe she is "retarded", you know? Maybe she is mentally ill.

  • Maybe since she got to know you a little bit she is quite convinced that her adoptive mother is indeed the better mother and she has no need of you?

  • Maybe you are too fat for her, you know? She is very thin herself. Maybe you physically gross her out.

  • Who doesnt want to know their mother? Their "real" flesh and blood? What is wrong with her?

  • Maybe they told her awful things about you and she is just living what she learned. All children are told to stay away from strangers and monsters. Maybe you are both?

  • Maybe she is one of "those" types. (I have no idea what this is supposed to mean)

  • Well, frankly, if you abandoned me to strangers I think I would avoid you too. What do you do for your second act?

  • Well, clearly, her adoption worked. She was better off without you. We told you that years ago.

I am not sure who is more insulted by these statements, my daughter or me.

I have never been able to formulate appropriate responses to these types of statements. I am simply flabbergasted at the insensitivity and cluelessness but can I really hold these adoption innocents accountable for their own stupidity? Many would argue that times like  this present the perfect opportunity to educate people. I beg to differ. When you are hurled over gasping from the pain of an emotional dagger thrown into your heart, it is very difficult to find the strength to pick up a copy of Primal Wound or Girls Who Went Away and educate the morons that stand in front of you.

For Stanta

Not the best quality. Taken with my iPhone in a hurry but I had to share.  My six year old still believes in Santa. He spent time this a.m. drawing pictures and such for S(t)anta.

Happy Holidays to all.