My Reality

A blog reader emailed me privately tonight and asked me a question I have been asked several times over the past year.  They asked (and these are their words verbatim):

“It seems like you are less involved in adoption issues. You are blogging less and I don’t see you at events and such like I used to. Whats up?”

At first, I winced at this.  I felt it might be a judgment, a criticism, an expression of how I was failing “the cause”.

I felt defensive and instead of responding, I sat with it for a while. This is typically my response to such things. When something lights a fire in my belly, when it elicits a desire to strike back, and defend myself, I tend to stop, pause and take time to reflect,  I question why I am feeling defensive and wonder if the truth might be that there is a shred of painful truth in what the person is suggesting and that I am denying it.  I use such opportunities as a chance to look  internally and self reflect.

I will share the most honest answer I can give at this time. I wont spout excuses (though they aren”t) about my busy life, my career, my children, my darling fiance, my college classes, or other. I will tell you the truth.

It simply hurts too much. Adoption slays me more today than it ever did.

Avoidance? Acceptance? Reality? Call it whatever you need to.  But allow me to explain.

My divorce, my reunion, my therapy, it all taught me a valuable, yet painful, lesson.

It taught me how to feel. It taught me how to acknowledge and honor my feelings.  It taught me I HAD feelings and more importantly that they MATTERED. Where prior to reunion I spoke from a place of cold intellect, post reunion, I speak from a place of the deepest pain I have ever felt. This is not due to my reunion, or my daughters decision to have no relations to me, her brothers, her natural family but rather it is due to the fact that opening your heart to feelings opens it to feelings of all kinds, good bad and otherwise.

To open my heart to my fiance, to accept the love he offers, the acceptance, the understanding, the ability to be, is to leave my heart open to all the things I have pretended were.not.there. It is to avoid denial. To refuse transference and projections. It is to sit with all that is good — and bad in my life and let it be.

And it simultaneously feels wonderful and hurts like hell. More than I have ever hurt before. Ever.

And I don’t know how to handle it (yet).

And so I stay away from adoption like a child stays away from an open flame after he has been burned.

I do not want to suggest this approach is appropriate or that I want it to be forever.  But I acknowledge that it is. And for today, it has to be.

For now.

11 Thoughts.

  1. Suz, I usually wait for the subscription notice that you have a new post. I don’t know why I felt drawn to check your blog tonight.

    You owe it to yourself to focus on the positive things in your life. Adoption isn’t all of it, although it will never go away. Yeah, burned. But it doesn’t mean the door is closed. Sometimes just have to step away. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care anymore, that you don’t want adoption to change, want reform, or open records. Just that you have to make room for the joy, not expend so much of your energy there, for now, maybe from now on.

    I understand and commend you. BIG HUGS!!!

  2. Someone (Teddy Roosevelt?) said something like, “You do what you can with what you have.” It sounds like (at least for now) you need to step back and restore your resources, and that’s OK — you’ve surely made a HUGE contribution of time and attention and emotional resources to adoption issues. Even in wartime, soldiers get to take a break between tours.

  3. Yes ~ it is. Appropriate for where you are at right now. A place of self-preservation. You are now feeling all at once that which you haven’t for years. It will take time to figure out how to live with that. You deserve whatever time it takes.

  4. Although I don’t have a subscription, I do check in occasionally to see how you’re doing. I’m sorry about the pain, but I can understand it. Your open flame metaphor is a good one. I agree with what Denise has said and there are times when you do need to step away and take time for yourself. I have found that riding my bike and going to the SPA have been helpful things for me to do. An added benefit, is that my health has improved and for the first time in 20 years I no longer need blood pressure medication! So enjoy some time for you and those around you who show their love and appreciation. If you decide at a later date to return to this sometimes crazy adoptocyberspace you will be welcomed back with open arms.

  5. I hear you on this, and my answer is that time teaches. And when I say that…here’s what I mean…

    I found my bmom in 1996 and it was a reunion roller-coaster until she passed just last year. Between 1996 and now, I’ve met many birth-relatives and have shed enough tears – I’m sure – to fill a lake. I jumped in feet first – ALL THE TIME – and then would be heartbroken for days, weeks and months. I did this for years, on various levels. I literally could not get out of bed. I often didn’t even want to be alive.

    Now? I often just don’t go there. I refuse. Does adoption stuff hurt any less? Not really…though I understand it better, so that lessens the pain.

    But, I just know my limit. I guess you could say it’s an act of love…for myself. And, I often, now…just make the choice to not go there. That is the most loving choice for myself.

    Maybe you too, my Suz. Maybe you’re finally learning that you deserve love…despite the pain that you will always feel when you talk/think/examine your adoption stuff.

    Time doesn’t heal all wounds AT ALL. But, I’ve found that time does teach. And I’ve learned enough to step away from the firing squad, which I used to – so freaking willingly – jump in front of.

    Sometimes you need to shut the door…even if it’s just for a day.


  6. Oh how I know.
    I (sometimes) dread the years I am going to spend with my fiance, that loving man who accepts all of my emotions and percieved faults…
    What on earth will my son’s bithday bring while I am being sheltered by a man who WANTS to know how I feel; who WANTS to listen to how my son’s adoption has affected me; who knows that I have to grieve that loss to continue life….

  7. Apart from your right to approach adoption and all of its issues in the best way for YOU, I think it’s also important for people to bear in mind that supporting a cause doesn’t always mean you must be actively in the fray.

    They also serve who only stand and wait. Just being who you are is a great service.


  8. Laurel :
    Time doesn’t heal all wounds AT ALL. .

    Laurel – I don’t believe time heals wounds at all. WE heal them if we choose to. We choose to let it bleed, choose to live with a band-aid or best case, live with the scars. I sincerely don’t believe that adoption wounds can “heal”. At least not in the sense that they will go away and we will never think about them. We find our way of “healing” and that way is different for everyone.

  9. Suz, After reading this, I felt it important to say that I love you for more than our shared adoption pain. With that said, if I am ever too much of a trigger for you, if what I have (reunion) is too much for you to bear, I understand and will give you space. You are such a beautiful person and I expect NOTHING from you. I often go for long periods of time not reading your blog because, wtihout trying, it rips of scabs that I try to keep in place to benefit the people around me. I know you know what I mean. Thanks for being you, Rebecca

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