Moving Forward

“Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can’t prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you’re presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. ” – Blaine

A dear friend (adoptee around the age of my daughter) has been randomly checking on me since my daughter requested no contact. I smile every time I get a note from this friend as it makes me feel loved and understood and cared for.  I told her I am fine. I really am.

For me, in my case, being denied access to my daughter by my daughter isn’t all that life changing. Let me explain.

Sure it makes me sad. Sure I had hoped for something different but the reality is that her telling me to go away is not that different from my parents, the agency, society.  I don’t say that for dramatic effect or in the case of boo-hoo poor me, but rather that this is a place I have been before. This is a place I have survived. I am okay. I will be okay.

The difference this time (and it is a huge ginormous difference) is that it was my daughter that “sent me away”.  That is oddly enlightening and even a bit empowering. It wasn’t Easter House that said NO. It wasn’t my parents, or her adoptive parents, or some religious institution. It wasn’t some governing body that told me she was better off without me and I without her.

She did.

I am not going to debate the merits of her statements or what might be behind them. I am not going to challenge them or try to say I understand them. I dont. I cannot. I dont know what it is like to be adopted. Only she knows that. I am suggesting that it feels good that SHE is the one in the place of power and not someone else.

Does that make sense?

I offered my daughter her medical history. She doesn’t want it. Nor does she want her OBC, her story, her first family.  Sad? Perhaps to me, maybe to you, maybe not to her. But look at the power here. The power that she has that other adoptees don’t. I offered my daughter everything I could and she chose to decline it. She did. Not anyone else. For once in my life since my daughters birth we are defining our relationship. It is not being done by others.

Perhaps I am losing you. It is rather hard for me to explain. I am simply happy that I found her, offered her everything and she had the choice to decline. And she still has the choice to accept in the future. She knows my name, where I live, where I work, the names of her brothers, her father, and more. 

Her choice.

We have the chance to define our relationship on our terms not those dictated by others. (Yes, someone may suggest that my daughters decisions are being dictated and influenced by external forces but we don’t know that for sure so we should not assume).

Additionally, quite candidly, I find my situation easy compared to others I know. In my opinion, accepting reunion, working through it, sharing the anger, the feelings, working at the relationship, integrating your dual selves (the mother/notmother and the two sides of the adopted adult), admitting the ugliness that can come with adoption THAT is the hard stuff.  What I am dealing with is not hard compared to what many of my friends are working through.

I have unfollowed my daughter on twitter. I took her blog off my feed reader. I took her name off of my google alerts. I took her off my family and friend contacts on Flickr.  I concluded I am not sending her any notification at all for her birthday. I will continue my practice of donating in her honor and proceed with the formation of a scholarship fund. But I wont tell her about it. I admit I still randomly visit her blog and her lookbook but I dont comment. I realize she can see her stats and likely CT coming there.  Hopefully she sees those going down as I am doing it less and less. Hopefully very soon she will notice  I abided by her wishes completely.  As I have said before, motherhood does not come with an off switch. However, I am finding for me, it does come with a dimmer switch. I am slowly turning the knob.

And I am okay.

As I have said many times, my daughters refusal to acknowledge me or my love does not cease either from being. I am finding peace in knowing that I have done all I could to date and for now, I am, moving onward, upward and very much forward.

Thanks again to my friend for checking on me.

17 Thoughts.

  1. I had a huge novel that I was writing for this comment, but I realized that the bulk of it was just saying the same thing:

    I’m proud of you.


  2. Wow, I’m proud of you too.
    I love your statement about the dimmer switch, that put it so perfectly!

    Hugs!! 🙂


  3. I think it does make sense- and I want to add that your ability to put your own hurt aside and be glad that she’s the one in power is some seriously amazing, selfless mothering.

  4. I understand completely – Your daughter is in control – she has the power, which until now was not hers’.

    Good on you Suz. Big hugs to you.

  5. Makes total sense to me. i’m happy she has power in this situation, and you allowing her the pwoer here is probably the biggest gift you could give her. Still hoping against hope that she sees it for that and comes back to you some day (soon).

  6. You are amazing and I know someday your daughter will let go of the fear acknowledge that.

    Love you Suz!!

  7. Yes, what you said makes total, total sense. You are amazing to be able to put it in that context. One of the things that really bugs me is that my mother’s denial didn’t come directly from her, but was delivered through the intermediary. So I don’t know what to think–what did she really mean, did either or both of us misinterpret something since it came through a third party? Even though your daughter said she didn’t want contact, SHE said it, not some third party. She got to make her own decision and so did you. I wish all mothers and adoptees could have that chance. When are they going to stop babysitting us? I really respect you for the way you have handled this and how open and honest you have been about your feelings and motivations.

    • Oh, and I meant to also add… her denial now doesn’t mean things won’t change in the future. At least you both have contact information and can reach each other directly. That’s something else I don’t like about mandatory intermediaries like the one I used, the fact that an initial “no” is considered “no” forever, and no one has a chance to reconsider or have a change of heart.

    • Triona – That would indeed make me nuts. I can tell you for certain that if it was a third party, my daughters adoptive parents telling me to go away, I would not do it. I would need to hear it, read it from her. Anything else, until then, is hearsay. I would not be able to trust it and it would run around in my head like a hamster on a habitrail.

      • That’s exactly how I feel, like I can’t trust the information unless I hear it directly. But, I’m not sure what penalties I might face under Illinois law if I contact her now that she has filed the denial of contact–even if I had her contact information which I don’t. She, however, has mine, thanks to the intermediary program’s “mistake”. So I just have to hope one day she will reconsider, or that somehow I will dredge up enough information (or change the IL laws) to be able to obtain my birth certificate.

  8. I understand exactly what you mean, Suz. Her request for no contact is REAL, and I can deal with REAL much better than the unknown,even if the real is not something I’m particularly happy about. It is concrete, a boundary, a good place to start a journey. Hugs to you!

  9. Wow Suz. I am a passive reader, I don’t think I have ever commented yet. I am an adoptee. I am in the opposite position. I really admire how you are able to step back from the situation. I sometimes feel like I am still waiting for my phone to ring, hoping it is her, knowing it won’t be.

    I really hope in the future your daughter let’s go of the fear or whatever is holding her back. She is missing out on something wonderful.


    • Hi Lisa. I dont know how long you have been reading here but I can tell you that this position was not arrived at easily. I have been in “reunion” for five years. I have experienced a great deal of emotion, therapy, angst during that time (never mind the 18 years prior to that). My point is that I understand where you might be. I was there too once. Hoping, praying, expecting, checking email frantically, fantasizing of what might be versus what is, envious of what others had and I did not, etc. hoping against hope that something might change. Maybe it will for you (and for me). Speaking only for myself, today I need to live in today, the present with the people who do love and want to be with me while still retaining that hope and love for my daughter. The reality I stated in this post is today. And I am okay with that. Hugs to you.

  10. You leave the door open for her which is what any good mother does. I think you show incredible courage and resiliance writing this. I am proud to know you Suz.

    I also think everything can change. We just don’t know what will happen. By leaving the door open for her you are making it possible for any changes.

    It’s true that when she defines your relationship that is empowering because in a way that means there is a relationship and it’s not coming from some outside force denying you any relationship at all.

    I try to always think of reunion in long term, the rest of my life. I try to stay open minded about what could happen. I might be denied contact one day, I might be even more welcomed or I might be left with what I have. In the meantime I make the best of my life and try to always see what is good.

    Beautiful post Suz. I’m stand in awe of your spiritual strength.

  11. Suz, this is one of my favorite posts of yours. YAY!

    As we move forward things will change. We just don’t know how… I am glad you have so much love in your present life.

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