"I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have." – Unknown
Mary, an adoptive mom reader, made a very valid point. I will paraphrase a bit. I hope she doesn’t mind.
Essentially what I got from her comment was the suggestion that perhaps the reason my daughter has so little interest in me, her brothers, her first family, her medical history is because her adoption "worked". It did what the social workers say it is supposed to. Maybe she is one of those adoptees that feel no connection. Maybe her life was so perfect and wonderful that she has no need or curiosity to know where she came from, her first mother and father, brothers and sisters. Maybe, like many adoptive parents and adoptees report, to her, "genetics is nothing". Maybe she is whole and complete and wonderful and fabulous and all the other stuff the agency told me she would be by being raised with strangers. Maybe she has no such thing as primal wound. Maybe she was that blank slate that could be easily assimilated into another clan. Peruse nearly any adoption forum and you will likely come across an adoptee or two that insists, emphatically, they are fine with being adopted.
It really is quite possible, right? (If we want others to accept our reality, we must surely accept theirs, no?)
It is something we mothers have to think about. That is what we were supposedly doing, right? Giving our children a better life and letting them go? Now, even though the agencies and society lied to us in their suggestion that mothers could get over it and would go on and never feel a thing for our children again, we should not necessarily assume that our children are like us. Just because we never got over losing our child doesn’t mean they could not get over losing us. We can cite experts and theory and imprinting (children KNOW they lost their mothers and it is forever a part of their chemical makeup) but what if those experts are wrong? What if some children can and do get on "just fine". They never knew any differently. The one mommy who raised them is their one mommy. Even if they came from somewhere else, they may be so whole and complete that the fact that they have another mother or family does not matter to them. Maybe mommies and daddies CAN be replaced. Maybe Verrier and Lifton and others have it all terribly wrong.
When I think about my daughter, my friend K’s daughter, my friend D’s daughter, I have to disagree with the suggestion that they are fine with being adopted. Perhaps my thinking is flawed or incredibly biased, but I disagree based on the following.
Wouldn’t a whole, complete, not bothered adoptee at least treat their mothers or first families like they would a stranger? Wouldn’t they be polite and talkative and not feel threatened or uncomfortable?
My belief (again, I am willing to admit it may be erroneous) is that the adoptees who struggle with reunion, who are ambivalent, hostile, are not adoptees for whom adoption "worked". They are adoptees that are struggling and conflicted with the fact that they are adopted. Maybe they are like my friend J who was told by her adoptive parents that they would withhold her college funds if she was in contact with "that woman". Maybe they are like my friend T who was literally disowned and thrown out of the family home by her adoptive parents when she started asking questions about her first mother. Maybe they are like my friend Z whose adoptive mother told her if she found her first family adoptive mother would commit suicide. Maybe those ambivalent adoptees are plain old scared and have had no support in addressing their adoption trauma.
I don’t know.
I cannot know and we cannot know unless an adoptee tells us themselves. And even when they do tell us, I am sometimes apt to question. When adoptees demand over and over, often in harsh angry tones, they are FINE with being adopted, I wonder who they are trying to convince? When adoptees are angry and rude to people they don’t even know and claim they don’t want to know, I wonder what is behind that behavior. It is said anger is often a fear based emotion. What are they afraid of? (I might add the same is true with mothers who tell you over and over again they are superdeeduper thrilled they gave away their baby.)
I do know that when someone doesn’t matter to me, I am at least polite to them. I am not passive aggressive, harsh, rude, angry. I am civil. I am friendly. Anything more or less than that implies to me, that there is some emotion there. To me, in my life, when I am emotional with someone to any degree, it is because they mean something to me. Because I have some emotional attachment to them.
In short, I agree with Mary that is theoretically possible my daughter is one of those very well adjusted happy adoptees that has no desire to know where she came from, how or why. I hope that is not the case but I do realize the possibility exists.
Should that turn out to be the case, in the long term, I will do what I have always done.
I will survive and I will continue to love my child regardless.