Sitting with Friends

I feel sad today.

Putting aside the obvious reason (PMS, work, overwhelmed with life, struggling with classes), I feel as if I am failing a friend.

Years ago I used to have wise words for my adoption friends. I was able to help them with searches, direct them to support networks, suggest books for them to read. We shared our experiences and mutual and not so mutual pain.

These days, while the experience and pain may be similar, our reunions (or lack thereof) have gone in wildly different directions (none good). I no longer know what to say, I am at a loss for suggestions of books or support networks. Generally I shrug (alone to myself as our conversations are most often digital) and say “I don’t know what to say”.

I feel sad for them.

At times, I feel badly about the help I gave them in their searches as I worry I contributed, at least in part, to the situation they are now in. I wanted to do no harm. I was helping (or so I thought). Other times, I realize they could have, and most likely would have, gone on without me. It would not have mattered if I did not help them. They would have helped themselves or found someone else who would. It has nothing to do with me.

Yet, with that realization, I still find myself left wanting more. I want more for them. They are great moms. Great young men and women (adoptee friends). I want to offer them more. They deserve more, better, different. What can I offer? What? I do not know. More false hope? What really can I say?

  • What do I say to a friend whose daughter wants nothing to do with her but everything to do with the rest of her family? What do you say to her when she sees pictures of her daughter with her family at events she was never invited to?
  • How do I soothe the pain of a friend who found out she is now a grandmother via Facebook? She talked with her son just the day before but he failed to mention his wife had given birth. She never even knew daughter in law was pregnant.
  • Or what about the friend who found out her child is pregnant months after everyone else (including me) found out. (I thought she knew…)
  • What do I say to my adoptee friend whose mother is well, less than a mother and certainly nowhere near the fantasy the adoptee had of her? What do I say when she says “I wish you were my mother.”
  • How do I comfort the friend whose son, after years of a really close reunion, suddenly and without provocation goes a bit off the rails and calls friend all sorts of incredibly mean and nasty things and then emails the steaming pile of nasty to her entire family.
  • What to tell a friend when I want to tell her to run away from nasty child as fast as she can yet I know she cannot and will not – no matter the level of abuse her child foists upon her.

I suppose, for now, all I can offer is to sit there with them. Tell them I care about them and if they were with me I would hug them and cry with them.

Maybe that is all they really want.

I hope so.

Reality is, it is all I can offer.

“I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving
to hide it or fade it
or fix it.”

Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Invitation

Let Us Talk Tears

Do you think it is true that if you still cry when you tell your adoption story that you are not “healed”?

Was musing with a few friends on separate occassions about this.

I shared that no matter how hard I try, when I speak publicly, I choke up and stammer and cry.  I have a love hate relationship with this. Part of me is just plain old annoyed that the emotions take over cuz I want to sound all credible and smarty pants. Then another part of the psycho gemini that I am feels that it is good, okay, and natural to cry. It shows the depth of the pain and trauma. This is something I want people to see.

Yet, I reflect on a woman I met at the A Girl Like Her Screening in Hartford a few weeks back. After the Q & A she came up to me, remarked about my sharing and then said something like “so obvious that you are still not healed due to your crying”.  Part of me was like “WTF, seriously?”  Yet a few days later another friend brought this up to me.

I strongly reject the people who tell us how to heal, when, why, under what circumstances and what the benefits are of doing so mighty quick. (Don’t even take me there unless you are prepared to tell me that you also tell a rape victim that she needs to just get ovvuh her sorry ass self..)

Yet even still, I wonder, will the day come that I don’t cry when I tell my story or talk publicly about it. Is the lack of crying a sign of some sort of growth that I have yet to achieve?

Then I Found You [Book]

So I read the prospective adoptive mom diary (essentially what it was) titled Mothers: A Novel mentioned here in this post.

I don’t have much to say about it. It wasn’t awful. In fact, it was probably brutally honest, only another adoptive mother would know for sure. I found the main character annoying and whiny. I resented the fact the entire book referred to expectant mothers as birth mothers. You aren’t a birth mother until AFTER you have surrendered and even then you are only so if you view yourself that way.

I had visceral reactions to the agency professionals portrayed in the book. (And really, Smith Chasen? Why not just spell out Spence Chapin). The books perpetuates the crackwhore scammer birth mother myth. For a few pages it  made me want to revisit my essay proposal based on my Scam I Am  post to show that the same sorts of things happen to other members of the adoption plane.

A twitter friend asked me if the book ended with the PAP’s “winning” (interesting choice of words). Presumably, yes, they did but that is not covered. It appears to end when they are matched.

I have not listened to the NPR interview of the author/adoptive parent. I am not sure I will.

I do recommend this book for expectant mothers considering surrendering their child to open or closed adoption. It gives a VERY interesting and disturbing look into what happens to PAPs and what agencies do and say.

I am now reading another book that is hitting much closer to home – Then I Found You.

Gulp. I am probably only twenty percent into it and I have twice had to put it down due to being choked up with tears. Too many parallels between me and my life and the protagonist, Kate.

Has anyone read this latest book?  Would love to know your thoughts if you have.