Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Green With Envy ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 20

Nobody’s perfect and sometimes we become jealous of other people (just as others become jealous of us). Has a non-adopted person told you they were jealous of you (due to adoption)? If so, how did that make you feel? How did you respond? If you are in reunion, has jealousy come into play at all? For example, if you have siblings, have they expressed jealousy about a difference in lifestyle? Are you jealous of them? How do you handle this? If you are not in reunion, do you harbor any jealousy toward anyone? If not, why do you think that is?

It's funny because most of the comments I get about being adopted or adoption related situations comes from people I've met online.  I have heard the "I've always wished I was adopted..my family drives me crazy sometimes!" line more times than I can count.  It hurts, to be honest.  I mean, how can someone wish they had grown up with a family that was not their own?  How could you want to have a fake birth certificate or not know what happened to you in the hospital in the six days after you were given up by your mother and before you were dropped in the laps of strangers in a cold adoption agency waiting room?  I will never understand someone wanting that to be their story.  And on a more personal level, as the survivor of abuse at the hands of my adoptive parents, I want to shake them and say, "Your life is fine!  I would give anything to have grown up with my natural family to have been spared the pain I suffered!".  I do try to explain that to the misguided people who believe the grass is greener on the adoptee's side of the fence but I know that it probably falls on deaf ears.

I am in reunion.  And yes, jealousy has come in to play.  I have met all of my relatives on my natural mother's side and have spent an extended amount of time with them at family gatherings and a long weekend trip to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday.  Seeing the easy way they all were with each other made me realize what I'd been missing all my life.  I did fit in well with them...our sarcastic wit binds us all together...but they have inside jokes that I can never be part of.  My aunt Julie told me that it was like I was away at college for an extended amount of time but that I was home now...like I was always part of the family.  And while for the most part, I agree with her, another, more bitter part of my soul, grieves intensely for the lost time.

In regards to my adoptive siblings, they have never expressed jealousy towards my being adopted.  They adore my mother and she adores them...and me.  It may have something to do with the way they found out about me though.

My mother and their father got divorced when the kids were little and he had visitation every other weekend.  When my brother Greg was six and my sister Cate was three, he was driving them home after their visit.  He said to them, "Make sure you are good for Mommy so she doesn't give you away.  She gave away one bad baby already."  Can't really blame them for not wanting to be adopted, can you?

But on the flip side, I  fully admit that I am jealous of them. They grew up with my mother in a house full of love and of acceptance.  They were allowed to make mistakes and to grow from them without fear of being hit or screamed at.  They got to experience unconditional love...something I only learned was possible when I gave birth to both of my own children.  I don't harbor some deep resentment against them for their upbringing though.  I'm glad they didn't have to go through what I did. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 19

Thanksgiving was always a big deal at our house growing up.  The holidays were the only times of the year that we could put our guards down and enjoy ourselves.  Usually my father's family (uncles, aunts, cousins, grandmother) would travel to our house for dinner and the week before Thanksgiving was always a busy time for my mother, sister and I.  We'd clean the house top to bottom and I could lose myself in the sound of the vacuum and the accompanying holiday music my mother would put on her record player. 
It was my job to make the table look pretty for the guests..using the special plates, glasses and candles while my mother sang along to the music in the kitchen making the pies and stuffing and bread.  It was also my job to dust all of the wood furniture in the house...to this day, I can't stand the smell of lemon because of the long hours of inhaling Lemon Pledge on my hands and knees. ;)
Then the family would arrive and the wine would start to flow, putting my parents in even better moods.  It was during those moments that I felt "normal".  This was how it was supposed to be all the time.  I wish it had been.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Siblings ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 18

My adoptive sister, Cindy

Writing prompt for today: Siblings.

Do you have siblings in your adoptive family? Were they also adopted or not? What was your relationship like in regards to adoption? If you are in reunion, did you find siblings as part of your search? How you been affected by your sibling relationships? If you searched and found siblings, and had adoptive siblings, what has that been like? If you don’t have siblings, have you found any benefits to being an only child?

My adoptive sister Cindy is four years older than me.  She was adopted in 1970 after having spent six weeks in foster care.  As children, we never discussed being adopted.  Back then it was more about survival.  We dealt with the same craziness that was heaped upon us by our adoptive mother...(my mother pushed her so hard when she was six years old that her head made a dent in the kitchen wall)...and we became closer as the years went by, trying to keep each other out of harm's way.  Things have gotten a little odd between us now that I'm reunited with my natural family.  I think she sometimes feels bad when she realizes that I'm going out to visit them and that I don't just have her as a sister now.  It's a definite juggling act.

My natural sister and brother, Cate and Greg
I also have a younger brother and sister on my natural mom's side of the family.  It was very strange going from being the baby in the family to being the oldest sibling out of a group of three.  It is hard to get out to see them as much as I'd like to but Cate and I stay connected by text, email and phone calls a lot.  It's a bit different with Greg as he's really busy with work but he always is welcoming with big hugs and a "Love ya Sis" when we get together.  I get sad sometimes though, realizing all that I've missed out on by being raised in a separate family but I'm glad I have them.

I do have two other brothers on my natural father's side.  I haven't met them yet...have been trying to reach out to them after my reunion with my father fell through.  I'm hopeful...but also trying to be realistic.  Maybe they just aren't ready for me to come into their lives.  I'm okay with that...for now, it's enough to know they are out there somewhere.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Connections ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 17

Writing prompt for today: Adoptee connections

Did you know many adoptees growing up? Do you know more now? How have adoptee friendships (online or in-real-life) impacted your experience? How do you generally make adoptee connections?

The short answer is no.  I didn't know many adoptees growing up.  I think that the first adoptee I knew was in college...my friend Gretchen.  She was Korean and had grown up with a Scandinavian couple in New Hampshire with three other Korean adoptive siblings. She seemed comfortable with her life and I did envy her the love that her parents showed her when they came to visit her. 

One of my best friends is an adoptee.  She's content with her adoptive family and has told me that she has no desire to find her mother since there was clearly a reason that she gave her up.  Her life was different than mine...no abuse, loving parents, amazing extended family...so I guess I can't fault her for her feelings. 

The bulk of my adoptee friendships now are of the online variety.  Less than a month after I was reunited with my natural mother, I found the AAAFC forums and it was there that I found some of the greatest people I'd ever encountered.  They gently helped me out of the fog and encouraged me to explore my feelings towards and about adoption and being adopted.  Through that forum, I found myself and while I hate the word, I am "grateful" for each and every friend I made there.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Here's What I Know ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 16

Writing prompt for today:  Knowledge About Your Adoption

Some adoptive parents share more than others for various reasons. How much of your adoptive parents’ story has been shared with you? If they shared details about your adoption with you, how did that make you feel? If they did not, do you wish they had? Did your parents share with you why they choose to adopt? Did they share that story with others in your life? If so, did it affect you in any ways?

I think I answered a lot of this prompt on my post from November 7th but maybe I can expand on it a bit?

My adoptive parents married in 1962 after dating for two years.  They were a young couple, my mother was 22 and my father 27.  We had vague stories told to us of how they tried to have children of their own (yes, that was how they said it...and adoptees AREN'T Plan B???) but then decided that since that wasn't working after eight years, they would adopt. 

That's about the extent to what we were told about it.  They felt that God led them to adopt...all of the typical stuff you read about online now written by adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents applies to their experience back in the early 70's. 

I never thought about being Plan B until I was reunited.  I just rolled with it and became very mechanical with my responses when people would ask me about it.  "They couldn't have kids and decided to adopt".  That was it.  Most often, I'd get the standard "Well, isn't that nice that they chose you for their family?!" and I'd be silent and nod.  Now, I just look at the person who says it and will calmly explain, "Looks can be deceiving." and let them figure it out on their own.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catching Up ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 15

Whoops...it seems that work and life caught up with me and I am finding myself backtracking to write five days worth of posts. Sigh.

Writing prompt for November 15 ~ The Unexpected

Is there an area of your life that most people would not suspect has been affected by your adoption in which being adopted has been an issue? How do you handle that area when discussing with other people?

I love to crochet.  I make hats, scarves, purses and afghans for my friends and family.  It's satisfying to complete a work in progress and to see the joy on someone's face when they see what I've created, just for them.

Recently, I was perusing a forum that I am part of for crocheters and came across a fundraiser that was being put on by a friend of potential adoptive parents.  She was making crocheted items to sell to make money for this couple in their pursuit of obtaining a child. 

I didn't say anything on the forum or that thread...instead I kept my mouth shut.  Why?  Because I wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time to explain all the reasons that this was offensive to me.  Perhaps someday I'll be able to go back and say something but not yet. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's That You Say? ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 14

Writing prompt for today:
The Things People Say
What is the strangest thing anyone has ever said to you or asked you about being adopted? What is the most insightful thing anyone has ever said to you about being adopted? Has anyone ever shared your story without your permission? If so, how did that make you feel? Who “owns” your story and what part of your story do you share with others in your adoption “triad”? Is there a line when it comes to sharing? If so, where is that line drawn for you?
I'd have to say that the strangest things I've heard regarding being adopted have been since I started blogging. 
"You should be grateful that you were adopted..things could be so much worse."
Ummmmm...read some of my more raw blog posts and see how worse life was for me because I was adopted.
"My adopted child will never be bitter and angry."
This one kills me.  I mean, there are some things in life you can control, but someone else's feelings isn't one of them.
"Your adoptive parents ARE your real parents."
< style="text-align: left;"> Yes, such as they were, my adoptive parents were real.  But no more real than my natural parents.  Love isn't endless.  Love can multiply. 
The most insightful thing anyone has said once they've found out I was adopted came about when my fiance was talking to his aunt about my reunion with my mom and family.  He told me that she got this serious expression her face and said, very simply, "That's fantastic.  Now she knows her people."  Amazing.  She got in ten seconds what some people will never understand. 
So the answer to, "Has anyone shared my story?" would be yes.  Steven has shared my story with his family and they were nothing but supportive. I didn't mind him sharing because I know he truly gets how being adopted affects me.  He wasn't looking to get validation that I'm crazy.  He wants his family to know me and that makes me happy.  
Ultimately, I own my part in my story...just as my natural mother owns hers and my adoptive mother owns hers.  But our stories are all intertwined together, for better or for worse.  But the odd thing is, I don't share everything of my story with either of my mothers.  I just can't.  It goes back to not wanting to anger my adoptive mother and not wanting to hurt my natural one. 
I'm not sure where my line of sharing is.  On my blog, I don't censor myself.  I spent too many years being silent and not being my true self.  Here, because my mothers and extended family members don't read my posts, I can be authentic.  Perhaps someday I can share that with them, but for now, I'm content to share myself with you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Puzzling Experiment ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 13

::tap tap tap tap tap tap tap....::

No, I'm not tapping my foot on the floor out of impatience.  I'm tapping on the Curiosity cube.  My friend Matty got me hooked. 

A group of people in England put together the cube as a social experiment.  It's a cube...made up of billions of smaller cubelets.  You download the app, and start tapping on the cubelets to chip away at the layers of the cube to get to the last layer.  Something is inside the cube that only the last person to tap on the last cubelet will get to see.  It's fascinating...exasperating...and unfortunately for me, highly addictive.  No one knows how many layers there are to this cube but the thought of what might be hidden inside is intriguing.

The cube for me is like chipping away at my life...peeling away the layers of adoption and abuse and pain and getting to my core.  Much like the experiment, I have no clue what is inside the cube and I have no clue what I will find inside of myself.  It'll be fun to find out though.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Peeps ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 12

Writing prompt for today: Significant Others 

Has being adopted affected your romantic relationships? If so, how? What is your relationship like with your adoptive family? Do you feel connected to your extended adoptive family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.)? If reunited, do you feel connected to your extended natural family? Are there disconnects? Explain.

Because I was so firmly lost in the fog during my childhood and early adulthood, I always just assumed that my relationships failed because I wasn't good enough. I didn't realize that I was too clingy because I was so afraid of rejection and being abandoned (again). I figured that if I showed my love to the men in my life, they wouldn't leave me. But that backfired on me, every.single.frigging.time.

I'm in a "big girl" relationship now though for the first time in my life. Steven loves me even when I'm crabby and feeling unlovable. Somehow he knows just the right words to say to bring me back down to earth. He knows about my adoption stuff...knows about the abuse and can even pick up on my adoptive mother's subtle ways of phrasing things that drive me crazy. He's been there since day one of my reunion with my natural mother and adores that side of my family which makes it much easier for me to be myself around them...as opposed to my extended adoptive family.

Honestly, the only person I felt truly close to out of all of my adoptive family members was my grandmother. She never made me feel different from my cousins and I adored hearing her call me "My Little Chrissy". We'd make homemade donuts every Saturday morning when it was my turn to spend the night at my grandparents' house. It was my job to count them for her (not that she really needed me to count them, but it kept this four year old busy so she could carry on with her work. We'd spend hours at their dining room table with whatever puzzle she was working on. She's take apart a section of the puzzle so I could put it back together for her. I felt such love when I was with her. Her death from a massive heart attack when I was seven years old hit me hard. I had come to look at her as my shelter from my train wreck of a life. I even tried to run away from home when I was four to walk down the street to my grandparents' house in a foot of snow because I wanted to escape. Sadly, I knew I wasn't allowed to cross the street and ended up just standing at the end of our long driveway, looking longingly in the direction of my safe harbor...a mere 500 feet down the hill.

Every other adoptive relative, while they are cordial, make me uncomfortable. It's always been that way. Although, I had heard my parents talking about their wills one day and they mentioned that my aunt and uncle would be our legal guardians if they ever died. This is horrible, but I was the kid wishing for a freak piano to come flying out of the sky while my parents were walking underneath it so I could at least live with kind strangers instead of abusive ones.

My natural relatives have been nothing but accepting since our reunion in 2008. My aunts and uncle have told me that they never stopped thinking about me. And aside from some distant cousins, EVERYONE knew about me...and while I'm sure it was a shock when I was found, they've all said that it was like I was just away on a long trip...that I fit in perfectly with our whacked out family. I feel the same way. I've only felt unconditional love a few times in my lifetime...with my children, Steven and with my natural mom's family. I'm beginning to see that I AM lovable...I am worth something. And those boys and men that I gave my heart to all those years ago didn't get to meet the real me. I'm sad for them because I'm a pretty cool chick.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Such A Crock ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 11

Writing prompt for the day: Personal Opinions Regarding Adoption

What is your opinion of adoption today? Are you in favor of or against adoption, and how do various circumstances affect your opinion? Has your opinion changed over time? If so, what caused you to rethink your former opinion? What do you think is the biggest need for change in the adoption industry or is the current model for adoption fine the way it is? 

Adoption sucks. 

To tell you why that is my opinion today, I need to backup a few steps.

Growing up, being adopted was just part of my story.  As a child I didn't have a feeling towards it, good or bad.  I mean, yes, I hated my life because of the abuse, but I didn't put two and two together and blame it on adoption itself.  I internalized it and figured I was bad and that was why all the horrible things happened to me.

Once I grew up and matured, I began to internalize things even more and thought that the reason I was given up was because I was just unlovable.  I mean, if my own biological mother didn't want me, how could I expect total strangers raising me to treat me well?  I wished I wasn't adopted, but there wasn't anything I could do about it since my mother didn't want me so I had to just grin and bear it and daydream about a better life.

Now, as a reunited adoptee, I know that I wasn't a bad kid.  My mother thought she was giving me a loving family to live with, one that she thought she couldn't give me.  Instead I was placed with monsters.  It took a long time to realize that being given up wasn't a statement against me as a baby or a person, it just was the situation I was put into.

I'm not sure if there was one specific moment where the lightbulb went off and I understood how intrinsically wrong adoption truly is.  I think being found was part of the clarity though.  In talking to my natural mother, having very deep discussions about it, I came to see that my life would have been different living with her.  I would have grown up with a younger brother and sister and an extended family that is loyal to the nth degree.  The love they have shown me since we were reunited is amazing and I often feel grief creep into my heart for the lost time.  They make me feel like I am part of the family though...even more so than my adoptive relatives that I grew up with.  The hugs come easily, the "I love you's" are frequent and sincere.  I can't put myself behind a system that would take that familiarity away from children just because the supply and demand insists on it.

I am not heartless.  I know there are circumstances in which children should not stay with their natural families.  I was abused and would not wish what I went through on my worst enemy...but why adoption?  Why take a legal document (the birth certificate) and tamper with it, changing a child's natural mother and father's names to be that of the adoptive parents?  My adoptive mother didn't give birth to me, but why then is she listed on my birth certificate?  To me, that's fraud at the simplest level.  Why not guardianship instead?  Why not give a child a home without taking away their heritage?   That is what I want to see.  That is what I fight for. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Searching For Something ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 10

Instead of using the writing prompt from Lost Daughters today (Reactions to Searching), I'm branching out a bit to talk about the State of Affairs when it comes to my search for my natural brothers on my father's side of my orchard. 

I've emailed my youngest brother on Facebook, but I'm not sure whether he's on his page much or whether my message has been relegated to the mysterious "Other Messages" inbox that I just found out about the other day.

I'm realizing what my mother went through after she emailed me through Myspace.  She had no idea whether I would be open to a reunion with her.  She had no clue what my thoughts on my adoption were.  Maybe I would tell her to get lost...maybe I would want nothing to do with her.

But I was open to a reunion with her, as scary as those first bits of contact were, I wanted to get to know her.  As these past four years have gone by, I forget what it was like before she was back in my life.  It's like I've always known her.  And I wanted that to be the case with my father as well.  It appears that's not to be...but I am hopeful that my brother will open that "Other Message" and contact me.

Want a peek at him?

He is the spitting image of our father.

Fingers crossed that things work out.in my favor. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Embracing The Dark Circles ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 9

Writing prompt for today: Becoming a Parent. Did becoming a parent change your perception of adoption or being adopted? Or did it strengthen what you already believe or feel? If you are not a parent, has watching your extended families expand (e.g. having nieces or nephews) changed your views on adoption or did it strengthen your views? Looking forward to your own potential parenthood: do you want kids, what strengths or challenges do you see in the future for yourself in becoming a parent? How has being adopted affected your own parenting philosophy?
Before I had children, I was constantly looking for my face and features and mannerisms in other people.  I wanted to know where I got my freckles from...or why I started getting white (not gray, WHITE) hair in my early twenties...and where the stupid dark circles under my eyes came from.
I'd see my friends with their parents, so similar and undeniably family.  I wanted that.  I wanted to look like my parents and sister, regardless of what the household dynamics were.  I figured if I was stuck with these people, I should look like them at least.
Once I had my daughter and she began to grow, it was clear that she was my clone.  Everyone still calls her my "mini-me" (even though she is now officially taller than me, God help me).  She and my son share my freckles, and Maddie shares the dark circles.  I treasure those similarities.  Both of my kids came along before I was reunited with my natural mom and it was amazing to finally "see" myself in someone else. 
I think that it was after the kids came that I began to question adoption at its core.  I would never have been able to give them up.  I loved them the minute I found out I was pregnant with them.  My heart was filled with happiness at knowing I was going to finally know blood relatives.  And I had created them.  Awe inspiring. 
As far as how being adopted has affecting my parenting philosophy, I am not sure it has.  Instead, my childhood has impacted it much more.  I realize that I'm really trying to be the complete opposite of my adoptive parents.  I allow the kids to go to friends' houses without giving them a guilt trip when they get home.  I accept that they aren't perfect and if Maddie can get a D on a test and still manage to pull her grades up to High Honors on her report card and if Chase can struggle with Math and still manage to get a C+ on his report cars, I can deal with that.  And I am proud of them.  I am protective of their safety and well being, but not overbearingly so.  I may get irritated with their behavior sometimes, but I don't slam them across the room and leave a mark in the wall from where their head bounced off of it.  I may nag them to clean their rooms, but I don't make them stay up until 3am until it's spotless and I have inspected it.  I set high expectations, but don't tell them I wish I could send them back when they can't meet them. 
This post seems disjointed to me.  I'm tired and my blood pressure is high tonight so I'm going to leave off for now.  Maybe I'll edit it, or maybe I won't..lol. 
By the way, all of the women on my natural mother's family got white hair when they were in their twenties, and Maddie and I got our dark circles from my mom's sister, Martha.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's The Story, Morning Glory? ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 7

Writing prompt for today: Childhood Adoption Narratives. Describe the story your adoptive parents told you growing up. What age were you? What feelings and questions did you have about this “adoption narrative”? Was it a satisfying explanation for you? Explain. As an adult, whether or not you are in reunion, comment on how much of that story turned out to be true. Has your adoption narrative changed? What story, if any, do you share with friends, acquaintances? How do others react to your narrative? Are they curious, supportive, silencing?

There was never one specific day that my parents sat me down and told me that I was adopted.  I just "always knew".  My baby book was geared toward adopted children with lots of flowers and bunnies and "This is where we brought you after we picked you up from the adoption agency".
The story goes like this:
My parents had adopted my sister back in 1970 after trying to have a baby of their own for eight years.  They had to wait a few years to put their name back on the list to adopt another baby girl.  And wait they did.  It would two more years and by the time June of 1974 came along, they were seriously considering telling the agency to forget it. 
Imagine my mother's surprise when on the morning of June 25, the Social Worker called while my mother was home with my four year old sister.  "We have a baby girl for you". 
The problem was, the house wasn't ready for a baby.  No crib, no toys, no high chair, no diapers, no clothes..nothing.  My mother called in the neighbors who rushed out to get supplies for this infant.  She then called my father at work and told him to come home so they could go the agency and get the baby.  Once he got home, they headed out immediately, leaving their friends in charge of getting things ready back at the house.
The baby wasn't at the agency yet, they were bringing her from the hospital and would be there in a hour.  They killed time by grabbing a bite to eat and then sat in the waiting room, eagerly anticipating their new bundle of joy.  Thankfully, one of my mother's friends had given her a "Going Home Outfit" that she put on the baby and after taking some pictures, they drove home.
A sign had been erected in front of the house, hurriedly put up by the neighborhood.
"Welcome home Baby W....... #2".  That's how it all began.
I spent the bulk of that first day laying in the middle of my parent's bed while they put up the crib.  For the first two weeks, I didn't have a name...ironically enough, they called me Princess.  It makes me sad that I went three weeks without an actual name, but it was par for the course I suppose.
Looking back on my narrative, I truly just feel sadness.  I often think about being in a bassinet in the hospital without my natural mother or father, no one to claim me until a stranger came and whisked me off to the waiting arms of two more strangers.  Was I cuddled in the hospital, or left alone unless I cried? 
The only thing my parents would say about my parents is that my "birthmother" was a teenager and that she gave me up to have a better life..that she wanted me to have a Mommy and Daddy and God brought you to us to have for our own.  That has never sat well with me. The hypocrisy of their words hits me in the very core of my being.  I always felt gypped out of that "better life" that I was promised.  I had a Mommy who yelled all the time and a Daddy who was a monster.  Nice. 
Now that I'm in reunion, I don't tell the story that was forcefed to me about rainbows and sparkles and "Ohhh, isn't it CUTE that you didn't have a name and we called you Princess??".  I simply say, I am adopted and my mother found me after 34 years apart.  I tell about how beautiful of a person she is and how she has become more of a mom to me than the mother I grew up with.  I talk about our reunion story and still get choked up when I describe how incredible our first face to face meeting truly was.
In the beginning, once people found out that I was reunited with my natural mom, they would say, "Wow, how does your adoptive mother feel about that?".  I would shy away from the question because it made me angry that they weren't asking me how I felt about it.  But now, I say, well, my childhood wasn't the best and while I respect my adoptive mother's feelings, my reunion isn't ABOUT her.  It's about me.   
Most people are very curious about how I was found...and for the most part, are very supportive.  I have run across some that are not as nice and judge me for being ungrateful.  Honestly, I lived too long with negativity and abuse and I usually just stop discussing it because only I know how I feel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gimme A Break ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 6

Writing prompt for today: Taking a Break.

Have you ever taken a break from adoption related things such as blogs, forums, or groups? If so, how did it help you (if at all) and why did you come back? If not, what is the biggest draw for sticking around for long periods of time without a break?

Hello, have we met?  Have you read my blog for the past year?  I am currently the reigning Queen of taking blogging breaks and extended hiatuses.  For awhile, I blamed it on writer’s block.  But really, it was more than that. 

As I mentioned on my blog, my reunion with my natural father has gone belly up.  I have had to resign myself to the fact that the easy reunion I experienced with my mother, siblings and maternal relatives is not how it will be with my father and the two brothers I have been trying to contact.  The rejection I feel is overwhelming at times and causes me extreme anguish.  I mean, I totally get not having a solid internet connection and even not being comfortable on the phone, but he’s had my address since December 24, 2010 and yet, I’m still not worthy of a letter or postcard.  I’m dealing with it, clearly not as well as I’d like, and I will move on from this setback but it is affecting me…emotionally, mentally and yes, physically.

Speaking of physical issues, some of you who are friends with me on FBook have probably seen me talking about my high blood pressure woes.  Last night it got as high as 184 over 126.  One of my friends at work gave me her blood pressure cuff to take home so I can keep an eye on my levels until I go back to the doctor’s next week..but that might have been a bad idea.  I checked it several times last night and could only calm down to sleep once it hit 130/80 after several hours.  I went to the Emergency Room a few weeks ago because I was having chest pains.  All the blood work they did at the hospital came back fine.  The list of things they checked for seemed endless.  It was not a heart attack, was not lung clots, and was not my thyroid.  The ER doctor and my Primary Care doctor think it is stress.  It is definitely outside factors (not the kids or my fiance or home life), work being the biggest problem right now.  I feel so much pressure to perform well and usually just feel like I’m swimming in the deep end of a pool, doing enough to tread water very slowly while barely keeping my head above water.  And the reunion-rejection crap definitely does not help either.  My doctor prescribed anxiety medicine to take in tandem with the blood pressure pills so hopefully that will help.

I’m enjoying being back for November’s posts though.  This blog has always been my safe haven, regardless of some of my more *ahem* colorful readers and comment contributors.  I want to share my life with you all because many of you have been where I am and having your support does help me to keep writing. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blogging Around The Cyber Tree ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 5

Writing prompt for today: Around the Blogosphere.

Do you read blogs of other members of the "adoption triad"? If so, what do you learn from reading those blogs? When you disagree, what's your preferred method of dealing with it (such as leaving a comment, writing a blog post about it, or ignoring it)?

I absolutely read blogs of other members of the triad.  Lately, I've been sticking to natural mom blogs because I just get mad when I read most of the PAP and AP blogs.  Having just been diagnosed with ridiculously high blood pressure, I figure for now, they are too hazardous to my health. 

When I was reading the PAP and AP blogs and disagreeing (most of the time) with what they have written, I tended to write scathing rebuttals on my blog about what they were saying. I have shied away from commenting on their blogs because it just turns into a "Don't you have anything better to do than to rain on my parade?  I'll pray for you.".  I try with all my might to ignore them, but sometimes the crap being spewed is just too much to keep quiet about and blog posts are born.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Are You My Father? ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 4

It's been awhile since I've posted on Lost Daughters, and I'm so glad I'm jumping back into it during November.  Reading so many heartfelt and thought provoking posts by amazing women is doing wonders for my soul.

My biggest problem with blogging lately is that my creative juices seem to have dried up.  That's why it's so helpful to have the prompts provided for us so I don't have to tax my brain too hard.

Writing prompt for today: The Natural Father

According to biology, it takes two to make a baby. However, when it comes to adoption often the natural father seems to be left out of the conversation more often than not. Do you feel that’s a valid statement? Were your natural parents treated as equals in your adoptive household? As a child, did you wonder about your natural father? Were you given any details about him? How did that make you feel? What is your view on natural fathers’ rights?

"Your birthmother was sixteen or eighteen and gave you up for adoption."

That was all I was told by my adoptive parents. Period. End of story. My father was never mentioned. I assumed my natural father was a teenager too, but had no idea whether he knew about me or what the back story of my existence truly was.

For what it's worth, I never really thought about him much until my natural mom found me. It was then that I realized I had other family members beyond my maternal side and I began to wonder about this man who was an integral part of my life's puzzle. As a child, when I imagined being rescued from the abuse, I pictured a woman showing up at the door..my mother...coming to take me home. I never pictured a man with her. And to be honest, I was afraid of men as a child.

My natural mom found him on Facebook in December 2010. After writing him for several weeks, I truly felt like one more tree had been added to my family orchard. He had the same sarcastic wit that I share with my natural mom and family. I finally figured out where I got my vertically challenged-ness (my maternal brother and sister are 6'4" and 5'9", respectively) and once again, I could see myself in another's face. Powerful..awe inspiring..and sadly, fleeting.

I had a father again...and then, it fell apart. The emails dwindled down to nothing and aside from one phone call on Easter, I never talked to him or met him face to face. It was over. Just like that. But I don't regret finding him. I just regret putting so much of my heart into it so quickly. My reunion with my mom and my maternal family was so easy and comfortable that I just assumed it would be the same way with my father. After months of radio silence, I've come to realize that I can't make him want to be in my life. He has the right to back off, and I have the right to take care of my heart. I'm now working on contacting my two brothers and while they haven't written me back yet, I'm being cautious but hopeful at the same time.

I do agree that natural fathers are left out of the conversation for the most part. I'm sure many of us have read blogs written by potential adoptive couples lamenting the hoops they have to jump through if the natural father does try to contest the adoption. Fathers should have just as many rights as mothers but they are often kept out of the loop until it's too late. Just take a look at this blog and realize that this is a man who wants his son back and is fighting to get his son back but is being met with seemingly insurmountable odds.

Natural Fathers' Rights shouldn't be a question, just like Natural Mothers' Rights and Adoptee' Rights shouldn't be a question. Keeping families intact should absolutely be the goal, not the exception.

I've had to challenge myself on this very topic when it comes to my son and my ex, his father. When my son was an infant, his father left the state. For over two years, there was no contact from him and I had moved on with my now fiance. He became the father figure in my son's life that had been lacking. My ex came back with a new wife and daughter in tow and after mediation through the court, we settled on easing them into visitation slowly, building a relationship with the son he'd left. He has that right. I will never take the father/son connections away from either one of them, especially since the fathers in my life have let me down in different and yet equally painful ways.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Blog Was Made For Talking ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 3

Writing prompt for today: Blogging Adoption and Everyday Life.

How is blogging about adoption different from blogging about other topics? Do you maintain an non-adoption blog on top of adoption blogging? If so, how do they differ?

Adoption isn't funny.  I mean, we can crack jokes about those silly PAP blogs but under the surface is sadness and pain.  I write about really raw situations that I lived through as a child and as an adult and I am incredibly drained after I share those memories.

For awhile I did have a non-adoption blog on which I COULD be funny...and I miss it.  The problem became that I couldn't quite get away from bringing my adoption stuff onto that site though and I needed to stop.  I think I'm in a better place emotionally now though so I might resurrect that blog and see where it goes. 

I also don't want to turn into a "Mommy Blogger".  I've read enough of those to realize that I want to be shot if I become as pretentious as some of them.  Plus, I'm just not the domestic goddesses those bloggers are.  I don't cook (thank goodness for Steven) and my crafting skills are limited to creating crocheted afghans, scarves, hats and purses...not whipping up homemade decorations that would make my house look like Martha Stewart vomited in it.

Definitely something to think about though.

My adoption blog is my third baby.  I've "adopted" (lol) this online blogging personality that I love.  I may blog about tough things, but I'm strong here.  Stronger than I am in my real life.  I've made friendships online and cherish all my adoptee and natural mom contacts more than mere words could express. 

For me, blogging about adoption is a passion.  Oh, I'm passionate about my love for my family and friends, but in a markedly different way.  I have always been a chameleon with my thoughts.  I take on the majority's choices like they are my own.  I never wanted to cause waves or become the center of anyone's attention.  But when I began blogging about adoption and my reunions, that changed.  I can disagree here..cloaked under a certain amount of anonymity.  I love that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Professionally Speaking ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 2

Writing prompt for today: You, the Personal, & the Professional.

We talk a lot about our personal lives but many of us also have professional lives. Let's assume that our personal and professional lives cross at some point (for some people this happens more than others). Has adoption also affected your professional life? If so, how?

Up until my reunion with my natural mom, the topic of adoption never really came up.  Oh, sometimes I'd mention it if it somehow came up in conversation and would inevitably get the "Oh, that's so cool!" comments.  And because I was so firmly ensconced in the fog, I'd smile and agree.  After all, I was chosen..I was special!


After I was found and realized that it was okay to express my displeasure and confusion over being adopted, my tune changed..especially after I started sharing some of my reunion with my friends and coworkers at my job.  After my first face to face with my mother and sister, I emailed some of the pictures to the people who asked to see them the next day at work. 

Check out this picture:

That's my sister in the pink and me in the black sweater

So, after I sent the pictures to my coworkers, one of them emailed me.  Except, she wasn't trying to email me, she was trying to send a message to one of my other friends.  She said, "Is it just me, or does Christina look miserable in the pictures?". 

Yeah, I think my feet didn't even hit the floor before I made it over to her cube to confront her.  She backpedaled and tried to say that she was just concerned for me.  That she was old school and that mothers just don't give up their children and then come back into their lives years later.

Well, you obnoxious cow, my mother did come back. 

I learned quickly to only share my story with those who asked about it.  Just because I knew that it was a wonderful thing, didn't mean that everyone would "get it".  It was enough that I did. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kicking Things Off ~ NaBloPoMo ~ November 1

As I said yesterday, I'm going to fight through the writer's block I've been experiencing for a long time to blog this month...every day. By the time November's over, you're all going to be hoping for me to go trotting off on another hiatus..haha.

National Adoption Awareness Month...what's it actually for?

Against my better judgment, I turned to Google. ::thud::

I found this site.

What I find most disturbing is the picture of the smiling expectant woman next to a picture of a judge with an adoptive couple and a baby.

Seriously? To portray a woman, ready to pop from the looks of it, smiling and happy and ready to give her child to the highest bidder is just horrible. It hurts my soul.

November to me is the big ramp up to Thanksgiving. I give thanks every day for my family and friends. It would never enter my mind to give thanks for adoption. At its very core, adoption is based on loss. The loss of one's identity...the loss of one's natural parents and heritage. It's not a cause to be celebrated...unless of course, you're the adoptive parents who get the child of a happy, smiling woman.

Tomorrow I will jump into the prompts that were provided over on the Lost Daughters site.