True to My Soul

“The authentic self is the soul made visible” – Sara Ban Breathnach

I dont typically write a post in response to a comment but I believe this warrants it. It is good stuff.

If you are reading this, go read Conversemamma’s comment first so this makes sense to you.

Conversmama’s comment is long and full of lots of typical adoption myths and challenges and questions and concerns and generalizations. I could comment on many parts of it but I want to comment on one aspect. It is something I hear often.

What I take from conversemamas comment is this (and these are my words, not hers):

“Perhaps if you shut up about what happened to you and pretended you were happy about it all your daughter might like you. Perhaps its your anger, your honesty, your raw truth about the surrender of your child to a baby broker that makes her not like you. Maybe you need to be something you aren’t and she would like you. Frolic among the daisies and sing a song of adoption and she might come running across the field to you. The bluebirds might even land on your mutual shoulders and sing with you.”

Um. No.

Again, my words not conversemama’s but my interpretation. I have heard this before. I think it even came from another adoptive mother, Mary. (The fact that adoptive mothers seem to say that most often to me in itself is interesting but I wont go there right now).

It is likely true that my daughter is put off and uncomfortable with what happened to me, what caused her to be adopted. While I have no proof of that, I accept that it is quite possible.

It is an ugly story, as so many adoption stories are. It is not easy for me to digest and I lived it. I cannot imagine what it like having to reconcile the fact that your mother always wanted you, was pressured, threatened and locked up so that you could be taken from her and sold to the highest bidding prospective adoptive couple. It must not be easy to reconcile that possible love you have for those parents that raised you when contrasted against how you came to be. How do you look at your parents all happy and giddy and frolicking in that field of adoption daisies with them and then look the other way at your mothers life that was irreparably damaged so those daisies could bloom.

It must suck like whoa.  It is not a position a child (even an adult one) should have to be in. But she is.

I get that. (Although again I have no idea if any of this is a challenge for my daughter any more than conversemama does. Lets just pretend it is for the sake of this post.)

But see, the struggle I have with the mentality that tells me to shut up and be a good girl and pretend I am someone I am not so my daughter will like me is that it is a lie. It living a lie. It is living adoptions lie.  I am done with that.

For even if my daugther is unable to reconcile how her possible fabulous field of daisies came to be, I must move on. I must live my life. I must live my truth. I must do whatever I can within my power to recover from what was done to me and as part of that effort I do whatever I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to other young mothers. This blog happens to help with both goals. It helps me and by being public it helps others.

Equally important is that if by some stretch of the imagination, she is not frolicking in a field of daisies and is struggling with this, I want her to find the strenght to be true to herself. To her feelings, just like I am to mine.   Perhaps by seeing that I am open about my anger and feelings, she will find a way to be too. 

The long winded point I am attempting to make is that I will not lie or be someone I am not so that my daughter will like me.  I want her to know the real  me. Not the adoption indstury approved version of me.

I am willing to risk that she may not be able to handle that real version in order to live my own authentic life.  I will no longer give away my soul for the comfort others. It is not the type of person I want to be.

It is not the type of persons I want my children to be.

10 Thoughts.

  1. The long winded point I am attempting to make is that I will not lie or be someone I am not so that my daughter will like me. I want her to know the real me. Not the adoption indstury approved version of me.

    I am willing to risk that she may not be able to handle that real version in order to live my own authentic life. I will no longer give away my soul for the comfort others. It is not the type of person I want to be.

    It is not the type of persons I want my children to be.

    This, exactly.

    If adoption in general or even pieces of it cause us great pain, why should we be required to pretend they do not? No other situation of great loss or difficulty in people’s lives demands such behavior. If a loved one dies, we are allowed to grieve. If we lose our jobs or homes or become seriously ill, we are flooded with support and messages of comfort. Speak out about adoption loss, however, and we are grimly hushed like naughty children.

    Why? Why should we strive to make others comfortable in the face of our pain in this one instance?

  2. Coco – My belief is that those that want us to deny who we are, what we feel, what was done to us, are often those that contributed to our pain and therefore want to deny their own culpability. Adoptive parents need to deny that there is anything negative in adoption for to admit there is might also mean they were part (knowingly or unknowingly) of that negative behavior. Same holds true for first parent (who unknowingly contributed to their child abandonment traumas,) our churches, etc.

    Being ignorant of the law does not make you exempt from it. Same is true for adoption trauma, again, IMO.

    For so many it is easier to blame the victim than look inside.

    “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.” —George Orwell (1946)

  3. The only way to prevent any further, unnecessary adoptions taking place is to fight and let the world know the truth. Suz, your writing puts you right there on the battlfileld, fighting the good fight. If you save just one mother and child this trauma you’ve done well.

    I agree with the other comments – Well said

  4. I would never want you or any women to shut up. I just wondered about your relationship with your daughter as I work out my own feelings with my son’s other mother, and how he may feel one day due to her sometimes rage. I asked because I don’t want him to be angry with her, or hate her, or shut her out.But, some of her anger about her situation is often unfairly directed at me, and even him-and he is only 3 yrs old.I guess it’s unfair to compare I’d just like to find a way to work through that for all of us.Good luck to you.

  5. Kelly/Conversemomma – I can appreciate your desire to understand the pain your sons mother is in so you can work out your relationship. I am not certain however I am a good benchmark. My understanding from what you have shared is that your mutual son is young and it seems so is his other mother. You claim she knew all she could about the effects of surrendering your child to adoption both what would happen before and after. It sounds as even with all this knowledge you state she had, she is still in pain.

    This is to be expected (IMO) as giving up your child is a crime against nature and no amount of information can possibly truly prepare you for what comes after. Telling a mother she MIGHT feel some regret does nothing to tell her how that REGRET and agony really feels.

    Additionally, my experience is so different from your sons mothers. Was she sent to a maternity home in 1986? Threatened with lawsuits? Had her parents sign a promisorry note? My anger is not the same as hers.

    Do you read the blogs of moms that may be closer to your sons mothers age or experience? Perhaps Jenna or Nic?

  6. I write from my perspective as to how Suz’s adoption work and such affects our relationship, I’m not an adoptive parent, adoptee or mother, however, I do have a 16/19 yr. old boys from my marriage…so I can relate as a parent to some of the posts, writing…

    Am I biased when it comes to Suz and my feelings/support for her, damn straight I am..

    Being biased does not exempt me from having me own opinions however…

    I found ‘conversemomma’ comments on ‘my personal prozac’ to be in a lot of ways off base and have little to no merit, a lot of ’em were illogical, she’s framing an argument to suit her purposes and such…

    Her almost ‘attacking’ Suz and such is incomphresensible to me…

    I think she TOTALY misses the point concerning Suz’s ‘anger’ and such, Suz addressed it all very well in her ‘true to my soul’ post…

    Interestingly, Suz and I had a short convo last evening in reference to ‘battle lines’ being drawn and how you have this great ‘divide’…

    It’s become apparent to me that IF one so chose, the adoption work can literally consume oneself, awhile back I asked a friend of Suz’s when we were in Philly, ‘how do you prevent this from taking over your life’?? ‘how do you make your present day family, relationships have meaning and instill in those people the love you have for them’, etc..

    The response was ‘lots of support from friends, family and loved ones’…so it’s almost a paradox in a sense, the people who give you that support/love are the very same ones who you need to make sure you show/give them that same love and support back to…

    I guess it all comes down to ‘balance’ and a ‘happy medium’…

    Again, I can only speak from my perspective & my relationship with Suz but she does a fantastic job of ‘balancing’ things is my gut feeling…

  7. Kelly, if you’re still reading I would just like to echo Suz’s offer for you to come read my blog (Living), and I think I can offer that for Jenna, too (Chronicles of Munchkinland). We both relinquished in this decade and into fully open adoptions.

    I say this not because I think you “need” it or “need educating” or anything, but because Suz is right, her situation is probably much different from that of your child’s mom. She has angers and hurts and trauma that some of us younger moms can’t truthfully begin to even fathom (though I try hard and read her to learn). That’s not to say we don’t have our own hurt and trauma and are utterly unable to relate, but there are differences….

    And the differences probably do impact these particular questions you’re asking (which actually intrigue me and I’d actually be interested in a dialogue about it). They may not be the questions to ask a mom from the Baby Scoop Era, because of the particular atrocities and trauma BSE moms suffered. But as a more recent mom, in an open adoption, I think the questions might be fairer for us. At least for me…. I know I have pondered myself how to share with my daughter, how to stay truthful to my perspective while allowing her her own reality and experience.

    Suz is in a very different situation though, closed adoption, reunion after long years of separation, sent to a maternity home, outright lied to and coerced and forced.

    (((Hugs))) Suz.

    And Kelly, if you want do stop by.

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