Guest Blog: He Stands By Me

Those that go searching for love, only manifest their own loveless ness. And the loveless never find love, only the loving find love. And they never have to seek for it. – D.H. Lawrence

Around the time I posted my sisters Guest Blog post I had a discussion with my boyfriend Rich about his experiences, thoughts, feelings as someone who is in love with a first mother (that would be me). I know that my ex husband struggled greatly with this aspect of my life. I also know that my ex husbands struggles were rooted both in my own behavior/reactions to my status as well as his own. 

I entered my eleven year marriage very much in the closet of birth mother shame. I was wearing a mask that I thought I had to wear to be considered socially acceptable. I was working and living for the “right things” that I thought would make me acceptable to others, remove the scarlet letter from my ample chest (you can imagine how big that letter was)  AND make me appealing to my daughter if I ever found her. Internally, secretly, I was allowing myself to be my true self and was heavily involved on the Net with adoption. I kept this aspect of my life completely separate from my husband as that is what I was conditioned to do. I had to be split if I wanted to be accepted.  Love was conditional.

As I approached reunion, the glue on my social mask began to weaken and I began to change. Not surprisingly, my marriage also began to crumble. The adoption trauma added to other marital issues we had and our marriage fell apart. I was no longer the woman my husband married. I no longer wanted the things he wanted. We were worlds apart.

Rrichme Since my divorce, I have worked hard at improving my relationship and communication skills. I know many of the things I did wrong with my ex and I don’t want to repeat them.  Two years post divorce and I find an amazing man who embraces all aspects of my personality – because I allow him to see them. I let him in. I let his love in (and I might add this is NOT easy for when all around you abandon you it is incredibly hard to trust again).

Boy am I glad I did.

His post is below. I feel a little embarrassed to post this. It seems a bit gushy but in keeping with my personal practice, I have not edited. I am posting his words verbatim.

Years ago I was quite convinced no man would ever love me due to what I had “done” and the type of girl I was.   I was actually told this by a family member.  "Men dont marry whores." "No man will every marry a woman who already gave birth to another mans child"

I have been proven wrong.

As with my sisters post, the title is his.

I’ll Stand By You

Hello all, when Suz asked me to submit a guest blog on how adoption has impacted our relationship I was equally humbled and honored…

It was deep into our second date when Suz said to me , ‘OK, I have something very important to tell you as it relates to me and my past & it’s a big part of me, my life and who I am as a person’…

I thought the wildest things, was this the part I found out where she was really a serial killer or maybe perhaps in the FBI witness protection program, LOL…

Then she proceeded to tell me about her daughter, the adoption that took place, etc..
Now having never been in a relationship with someone who had anything at all to do with the adoption process I was a ‘blank slate’ on this topic…

I will jump ahead a bit and tell you I was at the time and continue to be absolutely horrified beyond words at some of the injustices that were done to her, how she was manipulated by the system & how this was all allowed to happen!!!

Back to our second date, I thought to myself, ‘OK’ when she told me about her daughter, what had occurred & how she was very prevalent & very active in the adoption field…
We had discussed Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s ‘The Invitation’ and one of the passages is:

“I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it
or fade it or fix it”.

While men tend to be big ‘fixers’ in a lot of aspects concerning life’s items that need fixing, this is not one of those items you ‘fix’…

I recognize & understand that…

Ultimately, I simply try to be there for her, sometimes I just listen, other times I offer insights, there’s no ‘guide’ on how you deal with this in a relationship, I will offer this however, isn’t the whole concept of someone being a ‘partner’ to another entail that you’re there for him or her in every sense of the word, you offer love, support, comfort, compassion, right??

To quote the song by the Pretenders: “I’ll stand by you”, encapsulates what I am driving at here…’nothing you confess, could make me love you less’ Suz…

I was also deeply honored when she asked me to go with her to Philadelphia to meet her friends and ultimately prep for the adoption conference in Cleveland in April…

I knew down to the roots of my soul that this would be & was a tremendously emotional weekend in Philly for her & I was very much humbled that she asked me to go, as I knew how critically important it was to her. I can tell you as I carried ‘the box’ through the streets of Philly, the feeling I experienced was that no force on Earth would make me let go of that box. 

When Suz and her friends talked on that Saturday afternoon about their shared experiences from different sides  of the adoption experience I can tell you I’ve never been more horrified, moved, appalled, empathetic in my life, such a multitude of emotions flooded through me the likes of which I have never experienced before…

To hear their stories recounted I tried my best to put myself in their shoes and it was hard, so very, very hard to even imagine what Suz went through.
I can tell you in all honesty my love for her grew exponentially that day, as Thirdmom put it to me, ‘Suz has been to hell and back’…

I can personally attest that she’s still full of vim and vigor, to have endured what she has & to be the person she is today speaks volumes about her character, integrity, class &   pure old fashioned guts!!

Thirdmom paid me a huge  compliment when she told me she was amazed how “I have embraced the presence of adoption in Suz’s life”…thank you again for that compliment Margie.

I repeat myself here, ‘isn’t that what a partner does’ is the question that runs through my mind…

I recognize this is an important part of her life and has in a sense shaped her to be the person she is today…I love her for who she is, I love her for her past, for her present with me & for our shared future together…

In summary,  this has opened my eyes to the adoption experience in so many different ways, yes it’s part of our relationship but it doesn’t define our relationship. 

Thank you again Suz for asking me to share my thoughts…

I love you, Rich

I’ll leave you all with this love poem from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as it exemplifies what I believe true love should be about:

One tree, not two:
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being "in love" which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.


10 Thoughts.

  1. What a wonderful gift you have in Rich. I’m very happy for you Suz, that you two have found one another and that he gives you the support that you deserve, have always deserved.

  2. ‘Isn’t that what a partner does’ is so right…you are so blessed to have found someone who not only believes this but lives it too.

  3. Suz, I didn’t get past the title and the tears were flowing. I’ll Stand By You. That speaks volumes in itself. What beautiful words.
    You will be wonderful in Cleveland…it will all come from within. Your posts inspire me to deal with all this brings day after day after day.

  4. Just in case you didn’t think I did, I keep my eye on you Suz 🙂 You’re so much braver than I am and I JUST became a member of TypePad to post a comment on Rich’s Guest Blog.
    Knock me down with a feather…
    How beautiful that you two have found each other! I am happy that Suz has someone who adores her for the kind, lovely, impassioned person she is and sees her past, present & future as nothing more than complimentary to the person she is today… she deserves it.
    I don’t know if I’ve ever met a more supportive and compassionate person than Suz – for every member of the reunion triad, which only bolsters her humanity (considering her story).
    Good for you, kids.

  5. PS RICH – referencing The Pretenders “I’ll Stand By You” was when you had ME at hello.
    “Take me in, into your darkest hour and I’ll never desert you – I’ll stand by you”
    Tissues please!

  6. Hillary! You sly devil girl! You had me all confused and then surprised. I thought you were the other EH Hillary! Glad you liked the post. I agree with you on Rich’s fabulousness. Only, in my case, he had me at Nietzsche. Any guy who quotes Nietzsche to me on our first date makes me weak in the knees. We should get together with you and your man since we are neighbors. Hugs to you and your daughter.

  7. Thanks to all of you for the kind feedback concerning my guest blog post. Suz is a awesome woman, we’re both fortunate to have found each other & I can’t stop humming that Pretenders song. It just reverbates with me so deeply, the lyrics are hauntingly beautiful & it perfectly captures my feelings for this awesome woman. And for the record, she had me at the point when I walked into Starbucks full of nervous pent-up energy on our first date and I saw that gorgeous smile of hers.

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