Dinner Conversations

"“An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering.” – Byron Katie

"Perhaps she doesn’t want another mother because she doesn’t like the one you picked for her?" my friend queried.

Picked for her? I struggled with that statement as it is not entirely accurate but I knew what she was implying and why. Those not torched by adoption don’t always understand how the process works. They also dont realize that certain words can be highly triggering.

"What would not liking her adoptive mother have to do with me? Besides, I don’t know anything about her adoptive mother, beyond what the agency put on paper, I don’t like assuming or making up stuff that I don’t know to be true. That makes me feel uncomfortable." I stated as I reached for my ice water. The glass of Shiraz I drank earlier was fighting back and causing a bit of heartburn. As I scanned our small dinner table for something soothing, my friend continued.

"No, I know. I am just speaking figuratively or is it theoretically? I don’t know. Whatever. But imagine adoptive mom is your daughter’s view of "mother". If that view is bad, and I am not saying it is, maybe her view of you is also bad. Does that make sense? Pretend you grew up with a clingy, needy, obsessive, oppressive mother and you are presented with a mother who has been desperately looking for you. It could be an easy jump to assume that Mom Number Two (or is it number one?) might be like Mom Number One, wouldn’t it? Mother might become a dirty word. Remember when you said you had a problem dating E because he was Polish, liked to fish, and drank too much, just like your Dad? Same concept. Anyone at all like your dad became persona non grata. Get it?" friend asked.

"Errm, well, kinda. But again, I don’t know anything about adoptive mom so I cannot agree or disagree but I get what you are saying in theory. I suppose it is possible. Are you suggesting some sort of transference? Kinda like if you have a bad experience with oh, a restaurant, if you get food poisoning you might be weary to go out to that restaurant again or any restaurant at all?" I ask.

"Well, uh, not quite." friend replied.

"The truth is there are way too many variables in adoption reunion. I am just guessing at any of this. I am just shooting in the dark and spinning my wheels. I am working hard to stop thinking about it all. At least I am trying to reframe it. It is crazy making to do otherwise.  I have two other children who do need me and love me and deserve to have their mother completely there. I need to focus on the things that give me joy in life and not pain. And what do you mean not quite? Can you pass that bread?" I ask as the fire in my throat rages. Why is a glass of shiraz giving me such wicked heartburn I wonder?

"Well yeah, but that seems like a bad analogy if you ask me…something wrong with comparing mothers and restaurants. But I understand what you say about stopping your internal thought processes. Are you reading Byron Katie again? I thought you put that book down. But seriously, mothers and restaurants? Couldn’t your writer brain come up with something better than that?" friend laughed.

I smiled.

"Well, they both feed you…" I offered.

7 Thoughts.

  1. I think that’s kind of funny and not a bad analogy at all. I do agree, a LOT, with the notion that there are just Too Many Variables in reunion to know what is going on for sure. My guess would be the opposite though, that she is close to her a-mom and afraid of hurting her or their relationship.
    My relationship with my adoptive mom was difficult and so I was very, very, very interested in meeting and having a relationship with my birthmother. But I wonder, if I had been super close with my adoptive mom, how would it have been different? Would I have been less interested? I don’t know.

  2. Fascinating thread. I’ve read “Certainly Possible” and all of the comments a few times, and now this post. Plus a recent post on “Adopt This!” Good Adoptee
    (Suz, hope it’s OK to refer to another blog)
    All of this feels like second guessing to me. Of course we wonder why our sons/daughters, moms, and dads react the way they do. Want us, don’t want us, like us, hate us, embrace us, reject us… If they don’t tell us, or even if they do and we don’t believe it’s the truth, we just keep wondering and guessing. Because have an innate need to know — maybe not all things, but the things they want to know and they will keep at it until they find an acceptable answer.
    A doesn’t always follow B. Good or bad experience with a-parents doesn’t necessarily result in good or bad reunion or no reunion at all. We’re people. We don’t fit in boxes. We’re not that predictable.
    Sometimes I think it’s not about adoption at all. Just that that’s the common denominator for those of us who are trying to figure it out.

  3. Denise – Reference Issy any time. I am a fan of hers.
    And you are so right. I just want to understand. KNOW WHY. And lacking that, I am left to the rabid gerbil that scurries around on the habit trail of my mind.
    The most frightening thing?
    I may never get answer to any of it.
    A person of faith would let go and let god. I dont believe in God. Who do I let go to?

  4. I talk big, but I too want to scream “WHY?” It is indeed frightening.
    In reference to our human need to know, I was going to say that’s why early man did rain dances and decided that lightning was the god or goddess’ anger, and modern man invented a higher power to explain everything from how we got here to why we lost our children and why other people got them.
    I prefer not knowing over subscribing to a higher power I just can’t buy into. It’s a harder road, but I think more real. Maybe we let go to the universe, something that is not a “power” but the realm of what is, the natural flow of things.
    I wish I had the answer…

  5. I agree that it could be some kind of transference, and yes when you grow up believing one true thing it’s hard to reconcile with another that is the very opposite of the only reality you have ever known. Could be…and one day Suz I do honestly believe you will have the kind of relationship with your daughter that will allow you to ask her these quesions.
    On another note I find it more than amazing the numbers of mothers scarred by adoption trauma who no longer believe in God (including me)despite having been raised in believing homes.
    Be Well,
    Denise

  6. Did someone write a preamble to LOVE? What is it that takes us through life and if we really suffer our consequences. Dont we really do what we want to do? You ask weather it may be “good mom’s” – “bad mom’s” maybe not that at all. Perhaps a selfishness to not give that much to anyone. Doesnt make for bad people at all. Just unwilling to give up a part of themselves. To much work. I may be totally off here but I live this stuff and I cant find excuses anymore. May I say it is starting to P— me off.

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