Retiring from Adoption

I have been debating a “retirement” from adoption following my presentation at the American Adoption Congress in Denver this week. I shared this fact on my Facebook and all friends were quite supportive though a few remarked they doubted if it would be possible for me. One friend, who has seen adoption find me over and over again, suggested I could retire from it but it may not retire from me. Another friend suggested I would come back from AAC re-invigorated. First friend might be correct. I am hoping the second one is wrong.

I am not sure if I am completely retiring as much as I am stepping down or back another level. My daughter will be 30 this coming May. I found her over ten years ago. Prior to that I was obsessed with adoption search and reunion. Over the years that obsession has waned a bit by design and somewhat organically. I am very conscious each time I pull back a bit more. Early on I pulled back due to wanting a different vibe. I had taken what I could from the actively angry adoption community (and I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with angry, just that for me, it was a phase I needed to go through and then sought other voices). I then pulled back from friends who did not support my feelings or position. I pulled back again when my marriage fell apart and I realized how much my involvement with adoption had contributed to the demise of my marriage. Yet again I pulled back when my therapist pointed out my mothering style (or not) as it related to my sons and my adoption trauma. If I was to use medical terms, I might suggest I am administering a step down therapy treatment, that is, a staged reduction in the dosing and agents used to manage my adoption trauma condition.

These days I find I want to devote energy elsewhere. I would like to make real progress on this memoir I have stopped and started and stopped and started again. I am hoping I get into a local college’s Creative Writing program. If I do, I will need time to dedicate to my studies and my writing. On the less tangible side, I find myself so very tired of the chronic anxiety adoption causes me. I realize this may never go away. It has been 30 years after all. However, I feel in some ways I create it by actively seeking out adoption matters, by sharing them, by engaging in dialogue. I am curious if my anxiety will lessen at all if I take yet another step back and focus my energy elsewhere. My thinking is much like my friends, it may still find me but I can, and should, make better choices in self care.

At least that is my current thinking. As a Gemini (known to flip flop easily), I may indeed change my mind post Denver.


Wallowing in Grief

Yet another great piece on grieving from Tim Lawrence at his blog The Adversity Within.

Link to full post below. A few of my favorite quotes also below.

“The pervasive cultural image of the grieving person is of one who is tucked away in the corner, doing nothing but weeping all day and “wasting” their time with suffering and pain. For the overwhelming majority of grieving people, this is bullshit.”

“If you’ve ever heard some explicit or implicit version of “oh come on, why are you still sad?” or “I can’t be around all this negative energy,” then you’ve been subjected to what I call conformist wallowing. People who view any sort of “negative” emotions or experiences as “victimy” behaviors are themselves playing into an unconscious desire for control. Paradoxically, this desire for control is often borne of unresolved trauma in their own lives.

If you find yourself in the presence of these people when your world’s been torn upside down, remember that you can make the choice to ignore what they say. You also have the right to remove them from your life. “

“If you find yourself grieving any form of tragic loss—whether the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, a devastating injury, or any other loss, please, do not, under any circumstance, fall into the “I can’t grieve because I’ll look like a victim.” If you do this, you are setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary suffering. Instead, please remember the following:

1. If you’re not happy or “getting better” all the time, don’t worry about it (no one is anyway).

2. If you fear that the people in your life will think you’re wallowing because you don’t conform to their norms of what you should “appear” to look like, make the choice to ignore these fears and grieve. It’s never worth it to base your choices on the expectations of others, and this is even more important when you’re grieving.

3. If life feels like hell one moment and then you’re caught in a wave of oh shit I might actually work through this and then the next day you can’t stop weeping and then a few days after that you help another wounded soul and you feel like you’ll still be of service to the world, keep it up and keep going.

Why? Because this is the nature of grief. It’s one of the messiest, nonlinear, paradoxical experiences we endure in this life. Some days you’ll feel like you’re moving forward in confidence—even in hope—while other days your pain will penetrate you to your core. This is normal.

4. If you are terrified of what you might see, experience and feel if you allow yourself to grieve openly and vulnerably, you might be tempted to seek out advice on “how” to grieve. While solidarity and community are essential in grief, don’t go looking for some sort of formula, as that is often just an avoidance mechanism.”

Read the entire post Grieving Isn’t Wallowing.

AAC Denver This Week

12801632_10153940329805482_4964420836487733328_nWednesday of this week I will be travelling to Denver, CO to attend the American Adoption Congress. I, along with three others, will be speaking on Friday at our session titled  Mitigating and Managing Collateral Damage : Impact of Adoption on the 1st Family

My highly qualified panel participants include:

Susie from Finding Christopher, Finding Myself – Denise, reunited mother and author of Second Chance Mother, was originally slated to join us but had to back out a week or so ago for personal reasons. I knew Susie was attending the conference. I also knew she shares a similar experience and outlook on adoption and the impact to first families. I asked her to join us and she was kind enough to agree! Check out her blog if you are not familiar with her or her story and of course, stop by to meet her on Friday.

Kathy Aderhold – Reunited mother, long time adoption activist and midwife, Kathy will speak to all our topics but has a passion (if that is the correct word) and knowledge for PTSD following adoption surrender. Look forward to her sharing her experience and ways we can mitigate and manage similar for future expectant and vulnerable mothers.

Rich Kish – Husband to a first mother (that first mother being me!). My husband was kind enough to agree to join us and share his perpective as someone married to a woman traumatized by adoption surrender and a (non)reunion. I believe my husband has a voice that we do not usually hear from in adoption circles – true collateral damage. He will share how his view of adoption changed up meeting and marrying me, how he handled conversations with his mother and his sons as they related to my experience and how my search and reunion support of others has impacted our marriage.

Should be a great session all around. Even if it is not, I believe, firmly, the most important thing we are doing is keeping the first mother voice present. Susie was worried she might cry, might not be able to speak. I told her that would be perfectly okay if that happened as the most valuable contribution she is making is being right there, present, showing her very real human form. She, like Kathy and I, make mysterious, usually forgotten and overlooked mothers, visible.

Our session is Friday, April 1st at 2:00 PM. Session is (401) Mitigating and Managing Collateral Damage : Impact of Adoption on the 1st Family. Attached photo is of me and my husband. Please introduce yourself. Look forward to seeing you.