The Rope

*** This is a test. This is only a test. If this were an acual emergency we would not be bringing you any message because we would be running away screaming like madpeople. ***

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I have to feel free to just say what’s on my mind here. I cannot be subected to guilty thoughts or concern that I may be hurting the feelings of people I have grown to love and respect. Please understand that in order to get this out I have to go to uncomfortable places.

I am well aware that there are plenty of birthmoms that have been seriously mistreated by adoptive parents and society as a whole, well aware that there are adoptive mothers that have had horrible experiences with the birthmothers of their kids and as such feel huge amounts of protective anger, my Mom included. I have seen many from both sides continue to treat one another with respect and I have seen some who get tainted by their experience and use it to generalize.

I am going to do a bit of generalizing here myself. I don’t like to because I know there are exceptions to every rule. If you are an exception please forgive me and go about making a positive difference. I know many of my friends here will disagree with what I am saying and I want you to know that is perfectly OK with me! That’s what it’s all about, respect.

With that said let me just jump right in.

First the subject of titles. What is in a name? A helluva lot.

Respect
Honor
Recognition
Compassion
Honesty
Comfort

It’s easy to see why birthmoms are finally stepping up and claiming their own name, the name they find a comfortable fit. I get that. But here is something you may not know; the anger conveyed by many of you when we use the “wrong” name is entirely distressing for many of us adoptees. This goes for birthmothers AND adoptive mothers who get bent out of shape when their choice is not used. (I AM learning to respect your choices when I reply on your blogs)

There is inconsistency among birthmothers. Not all of you agree on how you would like to be addressed. It has been implied that by using the term birthmother we are somehow not giving you the respect you deserve and I can tell you that for this adoptee nothing could be farther from the truth. Be clear about this; MY BIRTH WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE, even if nobody celebrated on that day, even if that day brought sadness and pain, its my day, my birthday and YOU are my BIRTH mother. Nothing holds more importance in my life then the day my life came to be!

Let’s visit the adoptive plane theory (find the link to the left and READ IT) and really try to GET what happens to adoptees. We are in the middle, adoptive parents on one side, birthparents on the other. This is what has been created for us. To give credibility to one side is to take away credibility from the other. To refer back to my comment on another blog that prompted this post- it’s as though we are the rope in some sick game of tug-of war. To honor one is to disregard the other. It SUCKS!

For me, to use the term firstmother makes my Mom second mother. OK, I know, it’s true enough but for ME it is uncomfortable to put my Mom in second place. I don’t suggest I think birthmoms should be in second place either, I dont happen to like either choice!

How about Natural Mother. Yea, you know what I’m going to say. This somehow implies that my Mom is an UN-natural mother. Again, Natural Mom is true enough but nope, can’t go there either. It all goes back to that loyalty issue and feeling like we are put in the position to choose where our loyalty should lie. To be loyal to Mom #1 is to be disloyal to Mom #2 and vice versa. Have I mentioned how bad this SUCKS?!?

That being said please try to understand when you visit here that my use of the term birthmother represents for me all of the attributes mentioned above and more. Let’s review;

Respect
Honor
Recognition
Compassion
Honesty
Comfort

When I use the term birthmom each and every one of these attributes is attached in my mind and in my heart.

Adoptive Moms seem unequally represented out here but perhaps it’s because I am relatively new to blogland. I will search so your voices can be heard. However, if your intent is to in any way diminish the importance of birthmoms I will not perpetuate that by adding you to my links. I know, youre thinking “oh BFD she won’t add me to her links!” lol I just wanted to be clear.

Nooooo I am not being unfair. I would feel the same way about a birthmom who felt the need to slam ALL adoptive mothers. I have read through the arguements, I just happen to disagree with those that would serve to insult entire groups of people because of their experience with one or two.

I think there is a huge difference between venting hurt and pain suffered at the hands of particular individuals and using that as an excuse to be disrespectful with blatant disregard for an entire group. This goes for all “honorary members of the adoptive plane” adoptees included.

This blog was intended to be a method of healing regarding my birthmother. As anyone can see that has read my blog my reunion has not gone so well. I just happen to be smart enough to realize that the actions of one do not reflect the whole. Thank God because I have found no greater source of strength and healing then from my birthmom friends.

I don’t write about my Adoptive Mom here. Maybe that will change but right now I feel that our relationship has no place here. We have our disfunction like all good mothers and daughters but through the years we have learned our own methods of healing. I don’t have to validate her importance in my life here because SHE knows her importance and that is all that matters to me.

I write about my birthmother because I have not been afforded the luxury of establishing a means of healing with E and so I write. I hope she never finds this but if she does I would hope she, after getting over the feeling of betrayal, could understand that I had to find a voice or be consumed.

Many adoptive moms I have run across (including my own) seem to have this fierceness about them. It’s a fierceness that seems to be a protective shield both for herself and her child.

BACK OFF! You are threatening! I will not allow you to interfere with our bond!

I know there are plenty of adoptive moms out there that go the extra mile to be totally open minded about birthmoms, but even some of them seem to at times struggle with letting down the shield. If I think about it long enough I can put myself in their shoes. I can think about my kids and anybody I viewed as trying to step in, trying to be Mom other than me would instinctually be met with resistance. I know that is not the intention of most birthmoms but I can see where an adoptive mom might think so especially if she is asked to use the term first mother.

Power Struggle. That’s what I sense a LOT of adoptees are feeling. They are in the middle of a power struggle. I’m not saying either birthmom or adoptive mom always put us there, sometimes we put ourselves there!

All too often I see adoptees terrified of hurting their adoptive parents by sharing that they actually have feelings for their birthmoms reunited or not. It’s important to know that even if a birthmother is found not to be the epitomy of motherhood the connection remains, the origin of our being still vital to our sense of self.

Many adoptees search without the emotional support of their families because when they DO bring it up they are met with skepticism and anger. Self defense on the part of the family we seem to be trying to “replace” from where they sit. Or that fierce protection thing shows up full force. As a mother why would you support something that could possibly bring your child pain?
We can understand that right?

All too often I see adoptees afraid to share with their birthmothers the simple fact that they are HAPPY. To be happy is possibly suggesting to their birthmother that she has no place, is not needed. Or the other side of the coin adoptees going out of their way to convey just how well adjusted they are thinking this brings not only comfort to birthmom but validates their adoptive parents all in one shot. Regardless of which avenue we take it is done in an attempt to keep those we care about content.

Does anybody wonder what it might be like to take a free day? To take a day and drop all of the political correctness and just SAY what’s really on our minds, without fear of retribution? What would that LOOK like? Would it sound something like this;

Adoptive Mom~

IT PISSES ME OFF THAT I CAN’T JUST BE MOM, JUST ME AND ME ALONE!!!! IT MAKES ME SICK THAT SOMEBODY ELSE GAVE BIRTH TO THIS CHILD I LOVE MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF!!!! I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO LIKE YOU, I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO UNDERSTAND YOU, I JUST WANT MY KID TO BE MY KID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Birthmom ~

I HATE YOU FOR GETTING TO RAISE MY CHILD!!! I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO LIKE YOU, I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO UNDERSTAND YOU, I JUST WANT MY KID TO BE MY KID!!! I CANT STAND THIS PAIN AND YOU REPPRESENT ALL THAT I HAVE LOST!!!!!

and adoptee ~

I HATE BEING ADOPTED!!!!!!!!!! I HATE BEING DIFFERENT! I DONT GIVE A FLYING F#$% IF I AM SPECIAL OR CHOSEN, I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HATE THAT I SEE THE PAIN IN YOUR EYES BUT THIS ISNT ABOUT YOU ITS ABOUT ME! I DONT THINK I CAN BE LOVED BY TOO MANY PEOPLE, DONT YOU SEE THAT? THIS IS ABOUT VALIDATION, BEGINNINGS -YES I HAD A BEGINNING AND YOU CANT PRETEND I DIDNT!
I AM SICK AND TIRED OF WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, I AM SICK OF TRYING TO ALWAYS SAY AND DO THE RIGHT THING SO I DONT HURT ANYBODY’S FEELINGS! I NEVER ASKED FOR TWO MOTHERS BUT GUESS WHAT, THATS WHAT I GOT AND YOU BOTH HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME! SO GET OVER YOURSELF!

What do you think? Anywhere near accurate? Maybe, maybe not. In any case let’s not go there with one another but I say we can certainly stand outside, throw caution to the wind and yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna’ take it anymore!” Even though we all know we will, we must. It’s just nice to be able to put it all out there like a letter you write and then burn without actually sending. Being honest with ourselves for a moment and not forcing a feeling that doesn’t come at all naturally.

What a dissertation this has turned into. The bottom line here is that I see a whole lot of adoptees getting pulled apart like Stretch Armstrong. Maybe a great deal of it is in our own minds but I don’t think so. I think the tension is felt very strongly among our respective groups and sometimes comes out in not-so-nice a way. It’s a defense mechanism.

What is needed is understanding and knowledge, the ability to put ourselves in other’s shoes even if it’s a tight fit. We can’t possibly gain any insight if we are convinced our way is the only way.

I don’t mean to preach. I’m just so tired of this eternal battle of wills we seem to be stuck in the middle of. I hope this post didn’t come off as Ohhhh poor me the adopee I just think we can get the shaft sometimes by being the rope.

Just some things to think about.

and now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “The Rope

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Thank you so much for writing this… a rope in a game of tug-of war… this is EXACTLY what it feels like to be an adoptee. And I hate it. Just hate it.

    I hate that WE… as the ‘innocent party’… the ones with NO say in the matter of our destinies… that the responsibility falls on US to make sure that everyone else’s needs are met in the adoption equation. It’s just so freaking frustrating… and draining… so incredibly draining.

    Mia… I get it… and I’m so relieved that you do as well. Thanks for saying this.

  2. Standing.

    Clapping.

    Cheering.

    What a fabulous post.

  3. Mia, I adore you. This post is just one of MANY reasons why. Well done, my sweet friend, well done!!!!!

  4. Oh wow you get the battle that I deal with everyday. You get it. God it feels great that someone understands what all sides feel. I have heard that same argument from my own mom. Like you I just can’t degrade her. She has given me so much. She even understands this little growth period that I am going through right now. Thank you so much for putting it to words for the world to see.

  5. amen!

    you’ve got it just right!

  6. Mia

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it very much. It feels good to have gotten it off my chest.

    Obviously it’s an important issue that shouldn’t be ignored if we are all feeling the same way. Our feelings matter.

    I see all adoptees here, now wondering if I have alenated my birthmom friends??? I hope not.

  7. Great Post! You bring a lot of insight. I totally agree about not knowing what to tell my birth mom. I feel weird telling her I am happy, but also weird telling her I have no connection with my family. That in itself, is tug of war. You are an amazing writer! Fantastic Post!

  8. Great post.
    And I don’t think you come off as “Poor me” at all. I think you’re telling it the way it needs to be told.
    (IMO, when personal feelings get to distract from the real issues, everyone’s in trouble.)

  9. It’s not really the word birthmother that bothers me but the way it gets used. When you say birthmother I feel this love and respect and know that I am being cherished. What a wonderful blog you have, I am soooooooooo glad you are here. Yay to you!!

  10. Mia

    Whew! Glad to see you both here!

    Kim I think I understand what you are saying. Maybe you could clarify it a bit for me though because I really do want to get where you’re coming from.

    Maybe you feel the term has been watered down by over use and doesnt reflect the special meaning that it should? I dont want to put words into your mouth so if I’m wrong just say so.

  11. suz

    excellent post. agreed with it all of course.

    on my own blog, i use first mom. its my choice. my blog. i dont care what others call me – unless of course, like kim said, they use it with that tone that I am “JUST” THE BIRTHMOTHER. The incubator, with little regard, respect for that fact that I am so much more.

  12. Mia

    If I ever heard anybody say “JUST a birthmother” I would smack the stupid out of them. Not really of course I only take physical agression out on inanimate objects like hairbrushes and phones but they would definately get a verbal beating.

  13. Anonymous

    You said it just as I would have. You are so right, I feel guilty searching for my birthmother because my mom #2 is so great. But alas, my true feelings come out. I love both of my mothers with all my heart. I could never choose a label for either of them. They are both my angels and I’m so grateful for them. I just want to have a chance to tell my BM that.

  14. Wow! Some really great points to think about Mia!

    I agree that we are sometimes super sensitive about certain terms and my son can call me anything he wants. He calls by my first name.

    How about birth mom or birth mothers as two words? Disrespects no one. It describes the type of mother that we are. Birthmother as one word does sound like some unique alien being – a person created solely to birth babies, not a mother. That isn’t what we are. And that’s why it hurts, breeders, babymakers – that is what many attach to that term. I used to use it – I retrained myself to use it as two words. Or, I say that I am a MWRACTA (mother who relinquished a child to adoption) -much wordier – but it is who I am.

    Honestly though, adoptees have been told to call us “birthmothers” mostly your whole life if we ever even came up at all. Call us whatever you want, doesn’t bother me.

    It’s what some adoptive parents call us that I hate. They want us not to be accorded the title of “mother”. And some, sadly to say want to “put us in our places” and demean us and not acknowledge that we have any importance in our children’s lives.

    Good post – lots of great stuff to make people think – very good – that’s what we all need to do!

    Thanks, Mia!

  15. Thank you for clarifying how it is from an adoptees point of view. I guess I feel like, since all of society views us as birthmoms, unfit to care for our child, that I think that my daughter will think the same thing. But, seeing this from your perspective makes me rethink this idea. And, the fact that words are so inadequate. And, that no matter what name is given to me, that who I am doesn’t change.

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