Extraction and Relocation

"Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow’s joy is possible only if today’s makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one.” – Andre Gide

A dear friend of mine is retired from the army after twenty five years of service. He is a great guy, a wonderful friend, and I am happy to have him in my life.

He is also an adoptive father.

He is also a trauma survivor.

His friendship is quite valuable to me.

When I share my reunion status and challenges with him, he nearly always draws some parallel to army or military tactics. Some might find it annoying but I find it rather amusing and often incredibly accurate.

Consider this statement from him sent during my last difficult exchange with my child:

"I wish there could be some common person in your lives. It’s recon by fire without that kind of intermediary–a frightening process fraught risks. When I used to do reconnaissance in the infantry, I made it a practice to go slow. 100 meters at a time, sometimes only 5. Then hunker down, look, listen and smell. The impatient ran into more ambushes and ill-prepared fights. I wish you the sustained patience to feel your way to the goal."

I chuckled at this when I first received it but read it over and over again and realized it made a helluva lot of sense in relation to my reunion.

I found myself wanting to reach out to him today and ask him about extraction. How does the military pull back from a battle? How do we admit defeat or at least pull back to change course?

I have been working on extracting myself from my own expectations and from the state of my reunion. I have been making subtle, but impactful changes, to help minimize my pain.

I cannot control her behavior or actions but I can control my own.

I changed my passwords. My passwords to various systems were combinations of my children’s names – that includes my daughters names – both original and amended. I equate this, now, to a daily dagger in the heart. The passwords have been changed.

I have decreased, nearly ceased, looking at her flickr album. It is the only album she has left open for me to see.

I have decided to decrease – nearly stop in fact – writing her. I cut down significantly over the years but always sent the benign "hello, how are you, happy holidays" type of messages. I suspect I may just go down to the once a year Merry Christmas and maybe Happy Birthday email. I have been routinely advised that I should let her know this will be my approach. I will calendar to do that. I haven’t done it yet for I am afraid it will bring about another tirade from her and I am not yet strong enough to handle it. I don’t want her to think I am angry or ignoring her. She seems to want space but is unable to ask directly for it but rather strikes out passive aggressively. I will grant her the space and quite likely help myself in the meantime.

I pondered taking down her pictures from my family mantle and even my office. I have not done so and doubt I will. I fear this will prompt questions from her brothers and I just don’t want to explain to them what cannot be explained. How could I possibly explain to them how their sister feels about them and I when I don’t understand it myself? Better to leave it alone.

I have ceased making reference to her in general conversation or daily activities. I never did this with intent, the referencing that is. She was just always a part of our life and conversations.  I easily said my daughter, your sister, etc. I am, now, however, making a conscious effort to not talk about her. That is hard. It is like I am back where I started nearly twenty three years ago. I suppose the difference is that this is a self-imposed gag order versus being shut down by my family, society or other.

I even pondered ceasing this blog. She has objected to it and it is a bit of a daily reminder of her and my situation but I decided against this. I continue to feel very strongly that regardless of whether or not my daughter ever embraces her entire identity, I cannot and will not stop fighting for the mothers of today and tomorrow. My daughter might one day give birth to a female. It is for that possible grandchild, and my sons wives and children, that I continue to fight for what is right and natural.

Mothers and children should never be separated due to poverty, religious influence, stigma, lack of resources, coercion or intimidation. It is a crime to separate them and pretend their connection does not exist. It is legalized lies and accepting the infliction of trauma on a mother and child.  It must stop.

I cannot help my daughter but I do believe I can, and have, and will, help others.

I will not extract myself completely. I will relocate myself from a somewhat hostile environment and reposition myself in a more secured, safe area. As in the military, I will rescue myself from the immediate conditions that I am incapable of surviving within.

I will draw new battle lines and continue the fight against the true enemy – the American Adoption Industry.


4 Thoughts.

  1. Your personal exposure here is powerful and beneficial to many. You and I have taken very different routes into our reunions. Yet we’re both engaged in learning to take care of ourselves while loving our firstborn children. Breathing and listening. Sometimes I have to leave it at that. Thanks for speaking up.

  2. well it looks like I really wanted to say that three times. please forgive the computer impaired.

  3. Wishing you only the best in your day to day turmoils! This “thing” that we deal with everyday is NEVER easy. Even in ‘good reunions’!
    “Mothers and children should never be separated due to poverty, religious influence, stigma, lack of resources, coercion or intimidation. It is a crime to separate them and pretend their connection does not exist. It is legalized lies and accepting the infliction of trauma on a mother and child. It must stop.”
    We can only continue to work for this goal…I know that if my K looked at her pregnancy without support from her dad and I then she would probably not be pregnant right now! Support her is all we can do….if it takes bank loans and sacrificing everything, this is what we will do! My daughter will NOT have the doubt and turmoil that I have lived with…if I can help it in any way!

  4. While I would certainly give her the space she desires, I think I would continue the birthdays and holidays contact.
    She may have feelings that she has lost control of the situation. It seems often in reunion, there is a leader and a follower. It might be time to hand over the reins and let her lead it (for a while).
    I wonder if your advocacy might scare her a bit…just a thought.

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