Bitter, Angry, Grieving

How many times have you as a mother or child separated by adoption been told “You seem like a very angry person and if you just learned to release that anger you would see the path.”    I have lost count how many times over the years I have been told these things from all members of our community. Usually it is adoptive parents but I have heard same from adoptees as well as mothers like me. My blog, my pain, my grieving makes them uncomfortable. They want me to conform to their way of thinking so they can be more comfortable.  My own daughter has expressed her desire for me to “please stop talking about this”.

If you are or were an adoption blogger, how many times have you been told you were “bitter” or “stuck” when you shared your adoption related grief?

Do these sentiments resonate with you and your experience?  If so, I implore you to read Tim Lawrence latest blog post Grieving People Aren’t Stupid.  It is worth the read.

Photo credit: Joanna Fisher

16 Thoughts.

  1. I was just recently written off by a blogger whom I respected greatly because I started writing about adoption again from my perspective. It was fine when I supported her fears and emotions, but mine? Not acceptable.

    Sigh.

  2. I’ve heard that many times, including a therapist I went to shortly after reuniting with Christopher. (I found someone else). The hardest one I heard though was from Christpher himself:
    “I haven’t nor currently have any interest in reading what you have posted about this process. not trying to be a dick about it, but I’m truly thankful for your actions 34 ish years ago and if you think about it a little differently i think you will too.”
    Yeah, that one still hurts.

    • WOW! That is a rough one. Where do you go from there? How do you move forward when someone has so blatantly disregarded your feelings? It reminds me of the stuff my sister has said to me. That is like a mother that is fine with adoption of their child telling the child (who is NOT fine) to get over it, deal with it, it was a good thing, etc.

      Why do people find it so hard to acknowledge others feelings even if they differ from their own? Why can’t they realize they can co-exist?

      • My guess is that it’s hard for him to acknowledge my loss and grief is because in order to do that, he has to realize that what he has believed about adoption his entire life is a lie. He is stuck in either/or ~ doesn’t see that it’s both/and. He is also very much in protection mode for his mother. Which is kind of funny, as she has always been so kind and empathetic to me and has expressed more love towards me than he ever has. She is handling it all much better than he is!

        Sometimes it pisses me off and I want to scream, sometimes it’s heartbreaking and sometimes I just want to walk away from it all. Sometimes all of the above at the same time. The longer that his current (since mid-November) almost-silent treatment goes on, the more I lean towards wanting to walk away from it all…

        • I am inclined to agree with your theory. My ex husband had serious issues with understanding my feelings regarding many things and I landed on the idea that he was so out of touch with his own feelings there as no way he could grasp mine.

          I find it different from a belief system. For example, my mother believes in that magical man in the sky placed there by the Catholic Church. I do not. Despite our vast differences in religious beliefs, we can still have a relationship. We just do not talk religion. I respect her position. She respects mine (usually). With something so soul shattering as adoption, I find such a blatant disregard for feelings to be more challenging. Disregard my soul wound and you disregard me. Hard to have a relationship on that basis…at least hard to have an authentic one.

          • Our relationship is nowhere near an authentic one, in my opinion. I’m allowed to see into his life (via fb), allowed to send gifts, allowed the occasional visit (every 12-18 months), and that’s about it. No phone calls, no serious discussions, most of my messages and letters to him are not responded to. Many times I think it would be easier if he had completely shut me out as your daughter has done to you. But then realize that neither situation is better/worse than the other ~ they both suck in their own ways…

  3. Oh Susie and Suz… I’m sorry. I am currently headed towards a year of the “silent treatment” from my almost 31 year old “birth”daughter. Ours was an open adoption since she was 8, but the anger is still very much there. (hers towards me…although she only admits to being “upset at times”) My fear is that maybe it’s not even anger, but sheer apathy…which would be worse. She is able to cut me off at the drop of a hat…the slightest things will do it. I apologize, often to no avail. This seems to be a common way adoptees choose to deal with their “birth”mothers. Any theory as to why? I too have wanted to shut the door from my side and walk away. No more torture…no more wondering how long the punishment will go on this time. Facebook is the only way I can find out about anything going on in her life, and it’s bits and pieces at best. Even during “good” times, the relationship is pretty one-sided. She takes, and I give. I finally broke down some years ago and told her adoptive parents (who I trusted deeply…mistakenly) how difficult and heart-breaking being in an open adoption, well, simply losing my daughter to adoption period, had been for my family and I. That was 13 years ago, and our relationship with them is basically non-existent. I thought they cared about us, but the minute I acknowledged my grief (our daughter had already turned 18…I waited til then) I was shut down…my husband and children along with me. I believe that may have been when our daughter began to feel the need to choose between her 2 families, and of course, we lost. Or maybe it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t know what to do. I reach out every so often just to let her know I’m thinking of her, but it’s pretty much been met with silence. I’m not throwing a pity-party, and I recognize how difficult a position adoptees are in, but my God…is this ever going to end? There will be no happy ending. But somehow I, like the rest of you, will go on.

    • I’m sorry you are going through this too Amy. I’m really struggling with this lately. The only thing I know for sure is that adoption is unnatural and makes a natural relationship with our children lost to adoption all but impossible. I guess there’s one more thing I know for sure ~ the grief will never end. There is no getting over it, there is no closure. Yes, I have a fulfilling and mostly happy life, but it’s built on top of a loss that most people will nor could ever understand.

      • I’ve always said the relationship that is the most basic, simple, and free-flowing becomes strained, insecure, and UNNATURAL…a mother’s relationship to her child, and vice versa. No, no “closure.” Ever. Just when I’m floating along, feeling pretty good, like *maybe* I’ve FINALLY gotten a grip on this thing…BAM. Back to square 1 or 2. It’s disheartening, but you learn “it is what it is” and it’s probably always going to be like this. Waiting for the other shoe to fall. I find happiness and fulfillment in my other children as well, but there’s always something missing…someone. I’m sure you know what I mean. 🙁

  4. Ladies – Thank you all for sharing. As I have said to Susie on my facebook, I am sorry we all experience this but if I am going to be in this shitty club I am glad I am surrounded by wonderful women like you.

    I have my own approach to this non reunion that I may share in another post. At the highest level I feel we have three choices

    1 – Fight with them. Demand they speak to you. Be difficult. Make yourself annoying to them.
    2 – Walk away and close your heart from all future contact.
    3 – Walk away. Stop contacting them but leave your heart open for them in the future.

    I have taken my own approach to the third option. Included in this is working hard to make the best life for myself and the individuals in my life that do know, want, love me. Your child’s rejection of you is their choice and you should not take it as a measure of your value as a person. Live your life. Live a full one. Go give that love to children, others, people who need it. (And I realize this is easier said than done but I do believe it must be done. You gave too much of your soul to adoption. Do not let it take anymore).

  5. Adoptees get told, “Your mother did what she thought was best for you”, and “You’re making an assumption that you would have had a better life with your natural parents”. But people who say things like this are missing the point that it is being given up by one’s parents in the first place that causes the lasting pain.

    • I think the key to your comment here is “lasting“. Mothers who find their children (or are found) need to understand they are powerless to change/correct/minimize the pain of the adoption and that it will always be present. If they wish to continue a relationship with their child they need to understand that it is there. There may never be a relationship that is not burdened by this. It is the adoptee choice to deal with this pain (or not).

      I would also add to your comment about mothers doing what is best for their children. Did I think that? Yes. Was it reality? No. I did what was best for my parents, the agency, the Catholic church, my daughters father (at the time) and my daughters adoptive parents. They are the only ones who gained. This is not unlike adoptees I know who opt out of reunion because it is better for their adoptive parents despite wanting to search and/or have a relationship. Fascinating the way mothers and adoptees give their power away to others. Sad, may be the better term, rather than fascinating.

    • I agree that the for most of us the pain is always there, and gets in the way of reunion. Another “present” the adoption industry never warns anyone about.

  6. Interesting discussion. Since my son has called my concerns about the process that was followed in his adoption my “pity party” what else can you say. He became so nasty and insulting that I would not have had any respect for myself if I continued to listen or, more accurately, read. I think the disappearing act is sometimes a power move from a group of people who have often felt powerless. I think you are up against everything that was said to them about adoption and us by their parents, their parents friends, etc. Adoption is insidious. It has built within it the factors that make overcoming it via reunion very difficult at times. If there is no honesty you’re dead. And I think often adoptees have had their honest feelings overridden by the accepted adoption narrative. Be grateful, She didn’t want you, you’ll hurt your adoptive parents, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

  7. Susie, my relationship with my son is somewhat similar tp yours in the details, we see each other several times a year, email a bit, very little phone contact, no serious in-depth emotional discussions, but I love it!! I have three sons I raised, they are very similar private, introverted people, and my relationships with them are about the same. Two of them live far away, one lives with us but is very private. None of us are comfortable with drama or heart to heart spilling of emotion, so it works for all of us. They all love me, and I love them beyond belief, but we do not have to say it all the time. I know my surrendered son and my other sons are honest to the core, so when he said he loved me when I was leaving after a visit this year, that was enough for me. And he calls me Ma now, which I love. The adoptive mother who was mentally ill and he cut her out of his life years ago is dead, so I am the only mother and one of the grandmas of the two kids he and his wife are adopting from foster care. I am thrilled to be a grandma, and one of my other sons just had a little boy so I have a new biological as well as adopted grandkid. After years of sadness I am amazingly happy, life is indeed good.

  8. I would love it if adoptees heard, “your mother wanted you desperately but the social workers, hospital, doctor, church, extended family, lawyers, judges and adopters thought it was best for them, and by extension, best for your mother and father and you if you were abandoned to adoption.” Isn’t it wonnnnderful?!”

    How’s that for some TRUTH?!

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