But it is.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” – Rumi

Osolomama left an amusing link in response to my last post. In that post I shared the fact that my fiancé despises the phrase “It is what it is”.

For me, contrary to what the article suggests, “it is what it is” for me is total acceptance. It is not passive aggressive, it is not stifling anger. It is my version of the serenity prayer. I have the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I cannot change my daughters position. I cannot force her to care, to want, to think about me, to feel that adoption is part of her life. She says it isn’t and therefore I am not. One could attempt to debate this with her, even throw suggestions of denial or adoptee fog into her face, but to what end?  To hurt her? Argue with her? Show her I am right and she is wrong?

It is not about right and wrong for me. I know what I know and what I feel. I know what is obvious and true (I gave birth to her, I am her mother, I do love her). The fact that she doesn’t feel that doesn’t change it for me. It does not cease me from being. It does not change my feelings for her.

There is an author named Byron Katie that is known for her book Loving What Is and material known as The Work. The Work is a simple process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question thoughts that cause suffering in your world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address your problems with clarity.  In its most basic form the work contains four basic questions and a turn around. Some might call this reframing and perhaps to some extent it is, just Byron Katies way of doing it.

The questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

The turn around:

Then turn it around (the concept you are questioning). Straight from Byron Katie’s site “After you’ve investigated your statement with the four questions, you’re ready to turn it around (the concept you are questioning). Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of your original statement and see what you and the person you’ve judged have in common. A statement can be turned around to the opposite, to the other, and to the self (and sometimes to “my thinking,” wherever that applies).”

I have thought about this Work, reframing, even the serenity prayer a lot in helping myself to manage the feelings caused by the loss of my daughter, my resulting reunion yet not reunion. I have concluded it is not important what SHE thinks about me, our reunion, etc. It is more important what I think. I control my thoughts, my feelings, my actions. Not her.

As such, I am my daughters first mother. Always have been. Always will be. I will always love her. I will always miss her. I will always want her in my life. Any dispute, challenge, etc from her does not change any of that.

Hence, for me, it is what it is.

23 Thoughts.

  1. You don’t even need to write “first”. You are her mother separated by adoption. That separation can totally destroy any chances of a relationship. If you are lucky you can half some sort of relationship but even with that it’s not easy.

    One always wants more.

    The separation can not ever be resolved (my opinion only)

    I think it’s very important to be a complete person with a full life and identity where adoption is only a small part of you. Some of us are artists, musicians, writers, mothers to other children, migrants, dog owners, travellers, have our own business. We are friends, relatives, co-workers, home owners and photographers. We are not just women who reliquished a baby more than twenty years ago.

    I think it’s very important for healing and finding your joy to immerse yourself in the wholeness of you. I hope this doesn’t sound preachy, it’s not meant that way.

    At least this is the path I am choosing to take and it has helped me a lot. It is my greatest wish to see you be truly happy.

    • KimKim – Not the least bit preachy. I agree with you. I am complete person with a very full and happy life. I have the love of a wonderful man, two amazing sons, a beautiful home, a good paying job. I have much to be happy about and I am. I do not believe it is an either or situation. It is about balance. I am happy and sad at times but I am never fully sad. Adoption, my daughter, is part of me. It is not all of me. It does not define me. I am much more than the sum of my wounds.

  2. “I am much more than the sum of my wounds”

    Yes, indeed I am!! What a perfect little sentence to wrap up trying to explain having a fulfilled life, one that has the underlying pain of adoption loss. Thanks again for your wonderful talent of putting thoughts & feelings into writing Suz.

    Susie

  3. That’s good to know. I get the feeling from this blog that you are in pain all the time this is why I comment. I want you to be happy.

    • This blog is part of my life, not all of it. Adoption is the painful part and as such the adoption blog is the painful topic. Those that are friendly with me elsewhere see my richer fuller life.

      • Yes perhaps that is true but you always talk about wounds and stuff so I worry that you are only identifying yourself as a victim of adoption. Perhaps I am not the person to bring these things up. We don’t really have a strong connection anymore. Whatever, it’s all good, maybe your way is the right way I don’t know.

  4. Kimkim…I believe you are over-looking one critical aspect here, it’s Suz’s blog…she’s writing about stuff that’s near and dear to her heart, however what you can’t appreciate(since you don’t know Suz like I know her) is that to reiterate what Suz said ‘those that are friendly with me elsewhere see my richer fuller life’, truer words were never typed…
    Contrary to what you may believe, she doesn’t live, eat and breathe adoption stuff 24×7…
    Any self-respecting psychiatricist would tell you that blogging about what Suz blogs about is actually a VERY cathartic release, BETTER to do that than let it all sit inside and fester away eating at your insides…
    She’s not in pain all the time contrary to what you may think…
    I wish I was 1/2 the person she is in terms of her ability to express herself via her writing/blogging about what is obviously very painful subject matter…
    She’s a terrific Mother to her boys and I am ery proud to have her as my fiance, YES I am her fiancee so you may perhaps believe I’m jaded & my viewpoint is biased, believe what you will, I know this woman very well and she’s VERY balanced…in no way, shape or from does Suz ever play the ‘victim’ as you suggest…
    There is no ‘right way’ or wrong way per se…there’s no ‘guide books’ here…

  5. Alright Rich!!! I agree with you. I have just found Suz and reading her blogs have helped me A LOT!!
    I have told Suz some things that have been stuck in my throat. I apologized and she said it was ok. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have said the things I said. I think I know what she’s going through and I dont blame her one bit for the way she feels. I cant tell you how happy I am that I can talk to someone and wont be judged. It feels so good to let it go. You just keep doing what your doing Suz. Thank you for letting me in, you have taught me so much. I will tell you this, every day of my life since i gave up my son for adoption, he is in my thoughts. Not 24-7, but always a thought through out my day. I love him and I miss him. Hugs to you Suz. You are always in my thoughts and prayers…….. Cathy

    • Cathy – No thanks or accolades or anything necessary. I am glad my trauma and the way I personally choose to deal with it is helpful to someone. Truth is I get as much as I give. Hugs to you and yours.

  6. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree Rich, I think Suz does identify as a victim and quite rightly too. She is a victim of a very terrible experience. Unless you think losing a child to adoption is ok?

    I asked the questions because I would dearly love her to be happy.

    Since you are all taking so much energy and effort to assure me that this is the case I am much gladdened and need not worry at all.

    I am very glad she has a loving man in her life that’s wonderful.

    Thanks for the reassurance.

  7. KimKim, very interesting how you TRY and turn this around to ‘unless you think losing a child to adoption is OK”…exactly WHERE in my comments did I infer or intimate that, hell no!!!
    I think it’s horrible and deplorable losing a child to adoption and I once blogged here on the effects it has had on our relationship…it’s under “I’ll Stand by You”..check it out…

    Again, at the sake of repeating myself, you don’t know Suz, you’re not around her and you only see one very small side of the “equation”, if you will…

    Lemme reassure you she doesn’t identify as a victim, I don’t wanna prattle on about this, but she for sure doesn’t ‘wallow in the mire’ so to speak..

    You’re welcome for the reassurance…

    Have a great day, : )

    OOOH and Suz, I’m EQUALLY blessed having you in my life, MWAH!!!

  8. “The State of Illinois gave me three glorious days with my daughters followed by a lifetime of trauma.”

    This is written by Suz yesterday on Margie’s blog. I only put this here so you don’t think I brought the subject up just to be unkind. I can find other quotes but really what would be the point.

    I am always finding comments about gaping wounds and trauma and other very intense language. I don’t think these are the words of someone who has a happy and full life.

    Already wished you a great day. Not sure if you meant it or not but I do.

  9. Ummm…wtf?

    *scrunches up face*

    It IS quite possible for a person to have painful issues in their life…and STILL lead a happy, fulfilled, love-filled, good life.

    Example? Suz. If you read all of her blog, you’d see this. One can be sad and carry a heavy issue on their heart and still live a full life (you’d note she does this if you read her blog and took note of her awesome two boys and Rich).

    A part of life IS pain. How would we know love or happiness, if it weren’t FOR pain? That’s the only reason we can feel joy, is because we also feel sorrow. And, nothing is wrong with that. It’s life.

  10. OMG I so dislike Byron Katie! Lol, I hate that this is what has inspired me to write my first comment on your blog as I’ve been reading for a while… but she asks incest victim to take responsibility to “abusing their incest perpetrators”

    (I’m an adoptee and first mom BTW, … hi! hehe)

    There are pages and pages of awful things she’s said and done to people at Rick Ross’s Anti-Cult forum.

    She is a scary lady.

    She has said that if she were in the holocaust she would welcome the Nazi’s throwing her baby into the fire with glee. Eep. Sorry I just had to share that! So you don’t go to any of her retreats at least! If you want to read more Cosmic Connie has a great post here:
    http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2009/08/katie-bar-door.html

    I do think you have trauma and pain and even trauma and pain that are part of your life for years as a result of one event and still have a lot of fun, intimacy and happiness too.

    It doesn’t have to be one or the other! I think I hear Kimkim saying, “so what if Suz DID identify as a victim of pain that happened in the past and still causes her suffering now? Is that wrong?” I don’t see it as wrong to say that you were a victim of something. Or even that you are currently a victim of something that you would like to change and don’t have the power to change.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t also recognize the great amount of power to change other things in your life and reality.

    I can’t undo that I signed a piece of paper 8 years ago. But I can work toward reform and hope that a steer all who don’t NEED to place their children away from adoption.

    America has this love hate thing with victims. We love standing up for “the victim”. We love cheering on the recovery of “the victim”. We love movies that capture our hearts with the trauma and grief and sorrow that “victims” endure.

    And yet we HATE anyone who claims to be a victim. If a person says “I have been a victim of rape.” All of a sudden there’s this “Oh they are trying to get attention.” or “They are living their whole life identifying as in incompetent powerless person rather than taking control!!”

    Are we automatically powerless, victim crazed, helpless pathetic creatures if we admit that we have suffered through something that we had no control over and that we still are unable to undo? That still aches within us?

    Can’t we BOTH acknowledge ways that we are different due to the trauma, ways that the pain is a part of us in ways we often don’t even notice… and yet also still feel love, warmth, closeness to others? Can we not also laugh, cry, play, have fun?

    I don’t see why a person couldn’t have periods in their life where the pain is strong and they need to let it out through crying or talking or writing, or a long car ride through the country… whatever…

    And also have a healthy thriving life as well.

    Just my own thoughts. And I also don’t think it makes someone an attention hog, or a completely pathetic helpless emotional mooch if they are willing to share that they have been a victim of something horrible and traumatic and that it still affects them to this day.

    That doesn’t make them forming their entire identity of themselves as a victim (unless they are, I don’t deny that this also happens as well).

    Anyways, thanks for writing this even though I really really don’t like Byron KAtie and I think she is scary and harmful…

    : )

    • Rox – You clearly know more about Byron Katie than I do. I am glad you shared what you know. I am only familiar with her one book “Loving What Is” and not surprisingly, I had a visceral reaction to it. It did not sit well with me (clearly my instincts were right). However, I did appreciate the help with the reframing and questions that she offers to help with that. I have referred to the concept many times. Thanks again. And Thanks for the commenting.

  11. I actually say “it is what it is” a lot. To me it just means I accept a difficult situation or trauma at the moment, not that I necessarily want or believe it will stay that way forever – and definitely not that I see no other happiness in life. I think that’s what you’re saying, and I totally understand.

    • Margie – That is exactly what I mean. It means I have accepted what is today and I choose not to let it negatively effect me. Would I welcome change? Absolutely. But until that happens, if it happens, I am living the best life I can.

  12. I was originally compelled to comment on the Byron Katie Theme. Found it interesting that this was the first blog post of yours I’ve read in over a year Suz as I’ve enrolled in a Byron Katie course next weekend (obviously not with Byron Katie herself as I am in Australia). Now after reading the above comments I”m a tad worried. Will try to go with an open mind… but must say the bit I have trouble with is the emphasis on other people. Most of my unhelpful beliefs are about myself or situations not other people and what they should or shouldn’t be doing. I think maybe a lot of Byron Katie’s own issues come into her work… but anyway.

    I also feel the need to say that since I have not been reading Suz’s blog in over a year, I have only been in touch with Suz’s life through facebook and from what I have seen there Suz is leading a very fulfilled, happy life at present. I was actually surprised to be honest, to come back and read some of this stuff which indicates that the adoption monster is still rearing it’s ugly head in her life. I shouldn’t be surprised given my own experience with adoption… but was none the less.

    I completely disagree with the view that using very intense language to talk about trauma and gaping wounds mean that Suz isn’t living a happy and fulfilled life. In fact, I think this indicates a lot of insight, strength, and courage. I’ve watched Suz struggle and grow and learn over the years and to me these things indicate she is a very strong, wise, amazing individual who faces up to both the wonderful and the ridiculously painful aspects of her life.. to me this is an indication of a fulfilled person. And certainly nobody is happy all of the time. Given that Suz is an INFJ like me, I completely identify with the fact that Suz experiences her emotions strongly- whether positive or negative… I think it must be part of her personality. Adoption or no adoption.

    • Jane – What a wonderfully balanced accurate comment. Knowing you as I do, it means alot. I also consider you quite wise and pretty darn amazing. Cheers to you.

  13. Thank you Rox. I was not saying identifying as a victim means you are a bad person. I never said once that Suz was a bad person.

    I don’t think you can talk about your life as being a trauma and feeling like you are living with a gaping wound and be HAPPY at the same time. That’s ridiculous.

    Yes of course we can have periods of our lives where we are aware of pain and trauma that’s why they have different names. It’s not happy + trauma or happy with my gapin wounds…it’s either happy or not. If you are writing on a daily basis about something and calling it a trauma, if you are busy on a daily basis with your pain, if you are leaving comments on other people’s blogs about your awful experience then you are not HAPPY or at least you are not giving the indication that you are happy. To think otherwise is very strange indeed. What is there to disagree with?
    Happy people are not living with gaping wounds nor are their lives traumatic. Happy people don’t write about a trauma on a daily basis, they just don’t.

    Not being a happy person doesn’t mean one is weak. There is no negative about this.

    Am glad my simple questions raised strong responses.

    Even if it means that Suz starts to focus on more positive aspects of her life and starts to feel better and I am seen as the enemy that’s ok with me. I only want Suz to be happy. What is there to disagree with about wanting someone to feel good and to feel blessed?

    Thanks for letting me say this I appreciate that.

  14. Rox and Jane awesome comments & terrific feedback…WOW, good stuff for sure!!!
    And a big shout out to my friend Margie, how are you Margie, : )
    Happy Saturday all!!!
    Simply gorgeous here today, 40 degrees or so, have a terrific weekend all!!!

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