No Pom Poms for Me

"March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.  – Kahlil Gibran

So I told her I would process and I am. I have read her email over and over and each time it seems less intense and emotional and rather of matter of fact and dry. Why did it make me cry so much the other night?

I am at a loss of what to do next. What do I say next? How to proceed? Do I respond? Ask for clarification? Clarify things I believe she is totally off base on?

Or do I just leave it alone? Leave her alone?

I am at a complete loss. I vacillate between wanting to write back a lengthy reply to wanting to ask a simple question "What do you want me to do?". I ponder writing a list of questions that I would like answers to and I quickly scrap that idea.

What I crave is conversation, dialogue, two way, back and forth but I don’t want that in email. So much can be misconstrued and misunderstood. We are both strong writers, yes, but even still. It lacks a human element. Tone of voice, body language, and all those other little nuances that come from being in someones presence. I feel I have, at times, misunderstood or misjudged her to due to the cold nature of email. Having learned from that, my fingers feel frozen to reply via email.

My therapist says to be her mother. I laughed out loud in his face. Clearly he should go back and read her words. She doesn’t want that. Oh, contraire, he retorts and begins to cite archetypes and what he means by being her mother. On and on he goes and I remind him, rather curtly, that I gave up my rights to do all those things he is suggesting. I further remind him that NO ONE, including her, sees me as her mother, what is the point of acting as such? Its like acting like a clown at a kids birthday party while wearing a tuxedo.  I go on to say that I have no benchmark, no reference point. With my sons, I know them. I know their personalities. I know what makes them sad, happy, and fearful. I know when to leave them on their own and I know when to intervene.

I know how to be their mother.

My daughter? I don’t have a clue. I feel I should know SOMETHING about what she wants or needs and I don’t.

Some mother I am.

He tries to explain. I shut him down.

And so I wander and spin my emotional wheels and think and cry and sleep and laugh and go on with my life.

I am also angry. Not at her but at something. I am angry at my therapist and a few others for largely the same thing.

I did not get what I wanted or needed from them during this recent interaction.

While certain people in my life (interestingly, those that understand adoption trauma and the pain caused to first moms) were supportive, those that don’t understand that entirely were annoying as hell.

My therapist, my sister, a few others, while kind, were all gooey and basking in her fabulousness. I heard nearly the same thing from all of them. "She is brilliant". "She is an excellent writer" "She is this amazing thing" "She is that amazing thing" "This is good Suz. This was positive. She was this or that".

Yeah, yeah, I know, shes my kid, okay? She has been amazing since the day I gave birth to her. You are preaching to the choir. Can you focus over here? Hello? Over here. See me? Me. Yeah, me, the curvy woman with crazy red hair?  Can we talk about how I feel and why and not go on and on about her?

My therapist was literally in awe of her based on her email to me. I wonder if he wants her to come to our next session in lieu of me? (LOL)

And yeah, that was incredibly triggering. Imagine me, post partum, bloody episiotomy, new baby girl and everyone gooing over her and forgetting that I am bleeding and aching behind them. Imagine me spending years of my life in agony and everyone puking up the Adoption is Fabu vomit.

Flashback much?

And furthermore, if it was so good and so positive, while do I feel like shit? Why can’t I stop crying? Why is everyone around me waving pom-poms in the adoption reunion arena while I sit still on the bleachers wondering what the hell everyone is so happy about?

10 Thoughts.

  1. I agree with your therapist, I don’t think you should ask her what to do, because you are the parent, and looking for her lead parentifies her.
    The havoc that adoption wreaks on our identities is intense enough without out mothers amplifying it by competing for the role of child.
    Your daughter just ended her most crucial period of identity development, I would assume she knows her mind fairly well by now.
    I was in reunion at that age, and much earlier actually, I was at times really nasty to my mom and certainly did the whole “you can’t be my mommy” tantrum and would frequently tell my father, “you don’t get a vote” gleefully.
    By the time I was her age I had grown out of that stage however.
    Your bond is unbreakable whether or not she appreciates that or fights it, remember adoptees most often parrot their adoptive parents attitudes, it takes tremendous strength to give yourself the permission to explore and discover your personal response to adoption. Not everyone is capable of that, she may not be now, she may not be ever.
    I certainly fought the connection to my family, I was really pissed about it actually.
    I know it has to be hard, I do have sympathy for your position, but I also have faith that you can do this.

  2. Well. I am at a loss here because I don’t know exactly what the email said. I’m not saying this to be a looky-loo but it’s true.
    What she is saying and what you are reading are two completely different animals. It’s like adoptees and firstparents are from different planets in reunion so I can’t even begin to fathom what was in that email. And I do have to admit, I am curious.
    I just started to write that the only thing I can say is that I’m glad she wrote to you. Anything is better than being ignored. But that’s me talking as an adoptee and I don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes.
    I guess all I can say is that I am thinking of you both and hoping this first communication is a step in the right direction.

  3. You know I am thinking of you, hard to hug a porcupine isn’t it? I love you girlfriend, you should call me…

  4. Dan – To expand on, my therapist did not suggst I be her mother in the literal sense (cooking baking, smothering, judging, guiding, blah blah blah) but in the archetypical sense – to be supportive, available, non judgemental, to allow her to be her own self and make mistakes, to be available if she needs me, etc.
    He was not suggesting I interfere in her life, show up and start doing things for her.
    Google the mother archetype, Jung, or anything similar for more detail.

  5. I totally get this, Suz. I hated it when people (with no connection to adoption) got all gooey and pollyanna over my reunion, even during the low points when I was traumatized by flashbacks or contending with my son’s bad behavior. I imagine it to be like saying to a new mother suffering from post-partum depression that she has nothing to be sad about, she has this wonderful adorable little baby, and should just buck up.
    I fear I too have been guilty of pointing out the rosy side, giving advice, trying to fix, instead of just listening and honoring your feelings. A natural inclination to say something, anything, to make those we care about feel better.
    As for your therapist’s remark, I think what he meant was “be the adult” — as Joy says, lead your daughter instead of looking for her to lead you. Easier said than done when we fear that one wrong move could send our children away again.

  6. I hate this for you! On one hand, great, she communicated in SOME way with you. On the other hand, shit, what do you do now!? The waiting game plays havoc on all of us! Hugs to you!

  7. Suz, Dear Suz…
    I’m sorry this has been such a rough few days for you. Feel what you feel. You have a right to be sad, mad, hurt, happy, confused, or any combination of these.
    I am thinking of you.

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