Last but not least…….
We sure live in a world full of excuses don’t we? There seems to be a lot more excuses and a lot less personal responsibility going around these days. I like when someone takes the time to explain what they were thinking when they made a particular choice that may be confusing or out of the ordinary. I think we all tend to be a tad judgemental so sometimes an explination can provide the understanding necessary to change small mindedness. What drives me a little batty though is people who’s only reason for explaining a situation is so that they can make excuses for a poor decision that they have made. No accountability, no personal responsibility, just blaming everything and everyone under the sun for their actions.
I have run across a great many birth mothers who have extremely good reasons to be angry regarding the events surrounding their childs relinquishment. As an adoptee I am saddened by this but what makes the situation even more tragic is that many of these women tend to remain stuck in a perpetual state of anger and resentment. They use the past as an excuse for their choice in being angry and resentful and lashing out at others who had no part in causing their pain. Anger and resentment is understandable enough but not if it is used as an excuse for every poor choice you make. As an example a certain group of birth mothers visit blogs and leave inflamitory comments not as a means to educate but solely to insult and hurt other people who do not agree with them. ***This is not exclusive to some birth mothers , adoptive parents and adoptees have been guilty of it as well. Again, this is just an example.***As though attacking someone would give their perspective credibility. It’s almost as though they go about life trying to make victims out of people just as they feel they are. How in the world are we ever going to change society’s minds if we can’t even communicate with each other respectfully?
Fortunately I also have the distinct pleasure of knowing a lot of birth moms who are strong, encouraging, thoughtful and beautiful women. They have regret, they have stories to tell. Stories we damn well better listen to or risk repeating history. But the one thing these particular women have in common that I truly love is their lack of excuses. Through the veil of all the sorrow and regret there is dignity and strength in telling their stories, in their decisions to make positive choices in their lives today. They work at healing and they know that means no excuses. Like I wrote in a previous post it’s making the right choices not in spite of the past but because of it. Using their past as a catalyst not for revenge on the world but to live their lives to the best of their ability in a positive way. They have the courage to shout their stories from the rooftops to create change but know how to do it effectively. Sure, they may fall every now and again into that deep place within that keeps us all at times held prisoner just on the edge of despair but they have created a network of strong women to surround themselves with so there is always someone waiting in the wings to dust them off, kick them in the butt if necessary and get them going again. I like that. The sisters of loss club is strong indeed.
I guess it could be said we adoptees have our own club although I’m not sure it has such an official sounding name. We should work on that! ;o) To feel a part of something bigger than ourselves is really important. It reminds us that we are accountable to more than the person in the mirror. It’s also really wonderful to know that there are others with the same story, who have felt what you feel, experienced what you experienced, understand. Everybody wants to feel understood. I think the concept of the reality of true adoptee loss is only now becoming more mainstream. We have a long way to go before we are understood. Blogging is a good start and I am so glad to see other adoptees joining our ranks in droves. We have to feel to heal and we are finally standing up and demanding people recognize we feel something other than what we are expected to feel. But here again there are a whole lot of adoptees I have met that use being adopted as an excuse for every poor decision they make in life. No personal responsibility just perpetuates the “Angry Adoptee” stigma. Sure, we are angry about some very real issues that have been largely ignored by society but the title Angry Adoptee suggests that is all there is to us which is so rediculously far from the truth for most of us that it’s downright silly. I blog almost exclusively about adoption issues but for someone to come here, read my blog and assume that is all there is to me is ignorant. There are however a select group of adoptees out there making really bad choices and blaming it on being adopted. I hope for all adoptees everywhere they quit getting the spotlight. I hope society someday will wish to hear the more mundane yet real stories of inspiration instead of the hungry desire for drama and intrigue which usually comes at the expense of truth in the majority. The media certainly doen’t help by picking stories of a violent nature and uncovering the fact that said criminal was adopted as though that were the sole reason for their actions.
Adoptive parents who are open to the idea of birth family contact seem to do so not because they find it particularly warm and fuzzy but because they have the strong desire to do right by their children. We certainly could not ask for more than that from them! My own Mom when told I was going to search said the most perfect four words she could have said; “How can I help?” I never felt closer to her then I did at that moment. Her deep love for me was evident and unquestionable. Any good parent would give up every creature comfort in the world if it meant their child would never go without. Supporting their adopted adult children in their searches is just such an occasion I think.
Fear of their children getting hurt by the process seems to be a common theme I have heard among adoptive parents against reunion. I am an adult adoptee telling you this fear, although completely understandable, must not be used as an excuse to not stand by your child and offer support during one of the most important self-actualizing journeys they will ever make. IF it turns out poorly (such as mine) you will be there to help pick up the pieces because that is what a good parent does. If it turns out well you get to be part of the most amazing transformation in your adult childs life and your bond will only become stronger.
Another common enough theme is adoptive parents who seem to think they are trying to be replaced. If you really think about it how can you possibly see any logic in this? How is it possible for you to be replaced? Laying guilt upon your child with uneducated and/or selfish remarks such as “Why do you need to search? I am your mother/father!” only serve to bring about feelings of PAIN and GUILT upon us. Would you INTENTIONALLY cause your child pain or INTENTIONALLY bring about feelings of guilt? If so maybe your decision to become parents wasn’t such a good idea to begin with. As hard as it may be for you to swallow the idea of reunion the “burden” of understanding, education on the subject and support lie on your shoulders as good parents. Instead all too often I see adoptees proceeding in secrecy and shame, guilt and fear that they will hurt the only people they have ever known as parents because they have never felt free to discuss their feelings openly.
There just are no excuses for not supporting the adult adoptee with search and reunion. None. Listen to all of us grown adoptees who are telling you that you must be open with your child, you must be honest with your child, you must be caring enough to let them know their questions are welcome, understandable and expected!!!!! You must not pretend that differences do not exist or they will not feel comfortable in their own skin. When they grow up and if you have done these things so that they feel comfortable coming to you about wanting to search you must not allow your fear to stand in the way. Seek professional help if necessary but PLEASE support them. There is NO GOOD EXCUSE not to. Now that I think about it maybe what they should do is make it a pre-requisite on the adoption application! ;o)
On a more personal note regarding the subject;
I searched for my birth family with far too many expectations than I should have had. The thing is I didn’t even consciously know I had the expectations. I mean I fantasized about how it would be so I guess on some level I was aware of what I expected yet as the dissapointments materialized each one came as a great surprise and each one hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s still that way after five years of much of the same dissapointment. I think that the most difficult part of being rejected for me is not being offered any logical excuse. Don’t get me wrong there have been plenty of excuses offered but none of them are worth their salt and I’m not just being difficult. I mean the excuses for contact denial have been REALLY lame. Certainly not the usual fear, shame, heartbreak excuses usually offered up as the sacrificial lambs of denial. Nothing of the sort. I suspect all of these excuses actually would come into play if everyone were totally honest but when my own birth mother can look me in the eye (figuratively speaking) and say “I just don’t feel any sort of connection with you” I must take you at your word. And this my friends was one of the better excuses.
I have heard excuses made for her from other birth mothers such as detatchment, denial, confusion and pain, all real, all serious psychological issues that require attention, none of which I contest. HOWEVER, I do believe we are all born with a conscience. At what point in life do we get to say personal responsibility outweighs the lack of desire to become a better human being? How far do the excuses go before the umbilical chord breaks for good? For me the time is drawing near. I will always feel a sense of loss and I will always feel sad that the woman who brought me into this world chose to stay put instead of taking a leap of faith. I would have caught her. I am stronger than I look. I even packed the most unbelievable parachute in the form of understanding and compassion but she failed to have the courage to jump so my parachute I made especially for her is useless. I just hope that all of her excuses will hold her up and not let her fall as I would have done because she is a long way from the truth.
And as for me……
I have to get real about the situation I find myself in. I have to quit using her rejection as an excuse for not living my life to the fullest. I have to find a way to live with my sadness, my anger and my pain without using it as an excuse for making poor choices in my life. Which I do by the way. I admit it. These feelings can get me so down some days that I am not fully present for my children and my husband. Sometimes these feelings stand squarely in the way of any productivity. I pass judgement and make off the cuff remarks to people. My tolerance for ignorance on the subject of adoption is LOW. I do not always communicate effectively with people. I CERTAINLY use my situation as an excuse for poor behavior. That is totally unacceptable!!! I have to quit making excuses too.