For 13 years I have pushed down my emotions. Ignored my lost son other than to tell people how wonderful he is, how cute of a baby he was, how much I miss him but never what really happened or how I have haven’t coped or dealt with his adoption. Eleven years ago I found myself in reunion, within the span of a week I went from never thinking about being adopted to living with my natural mother and living adoption 100% of the time. Soon after I was found I came across an adoption chat room on Yahoo! and after a week of lurking I jumped into the conversation. Within days a woman named Katesco slammed me with a reality that left my defenses bristling, she said that a disproportionately large number of adoptees surrender their children. I went off on her, getting defensive and very angry, I internalized that and thought she was slamming me down. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is that it is true. Adoptees are overrepresented in many areas and few are positive. We make up less than 3% of the population yet make up an average of 5-15% of patients in treatment. In some facilities the recorded percentage can be as high as 80%. Shocking but, sadly, not surprising. I haven’t come across any hard stats for natural parents but I suspect those numbers are high as well. When a person holds a dual position of loss, being an adoptee and a natural parent, I suspect these numbers would be staggering. I have kept my two sides miles apart in my mind, perhaps out of a subconscious need for self preservation, perhaps because I simply can’t rectify the two sides in my own mind, perhaps out of shame. How could I dare talk about my own pain as an adoptee when I am the reason another person will suffer the same fate? As anyone who has dealt with their issues of loss will tell you, you can only push it down for so long before it consumes you and you are forced to deal with it, one way or another.
That adoption chat room became my solace. The one place I was able to connect with other adoptees and share my pain without fear. It took years there before I started sharing my true feelings. It takes me years to feel comfortable enough to share this with anyone, anywhere. Slowly but surely the adoption room fell apart and we moved on to other places, connections were lost, people were lost and I was very lost. Searching for somewhere to continue my inner healing I came across Yahoo! Answers and the adoption section there. Again I slowly started letting out my story but since it is an open forum filled with adoptees, natural parents, people hoping to adopt and adoptive parents I always felt the need to hold back. In time I was given the link to an adoptee only forum and again came the slow path to building trust and allowing myself to talk about my story.
I have formed bonds at this forum like no others in my life. For the first time I was able to talk about my loss as a LOSS, instead of as what the rest of the world wants it to be… a GAIN. I met others who were just as pissed off and fucked up as I am. I met people who shared my emotions and validated them. It was liberating and very healing. I became more involved with adoptee rights and the push for open records across North America. I saw New Orléans! I saw Philadelphia! I met people in person! I laughed with them and I cried with them, in person and online. I gained friendships that were meaningful. I felt liked for who I am, possibly for the first time in my life. I felt secure. Slowly I started to analyze the emotions in my mind that had always been there, the buried emotions that I had pushed down for three decades. The healing came in waves, up and downs, highs and lows but with the support of my new friends the good times started to overrule the bad and I felt like I was making progress, HUGE progress. The problem with healing one trauma when you have many is that there will be another lurking on the horizon, waiting, as you start feeling good about one the other jumps in and beats you down. This is where I am at today. Feeling OK (never good) about being an adoptee yet swallowed by being a natural mother.
Last night my mother side jumped in and bitch slapped me. Hitting me like a sock full of quarters I suddenly realized I could not continue to push that down. I need to deal with it, learn how to cope with my own emotions and ultimately become who my son might someday need me to be, an emotionally sound mother instead of this broken shell I have carefully cultivated over the years. As with any realization of this kind I also realized that I can not come to healing alone. The kicker is that I have started to feel as both an adoptee and a natural mother at the same time. I can no longer answer questions or talk about my past as one or the other, I have started to feel as both at once. After hours searching online I started seeing that there is very little in the way of support for adoption loss in general, be it for adoptees or for natural parents, but there is almost nothing for people like me. The Abandoned Abandoners of the world are left to cope either as an adoptee OR a natural parent or they are left to cope alone. Talking about my “other” side is not easy for me. Reaching out for help is next to impossible. I went to the only place where I have ever felt secure talking adoption, The Forum. Ohh big mistake missy! I asked what I thought was an acceptable question. “Does anyone know of a place for natural parents where there won’t be surprise skittle butsecs ?” I didn’t ask for support for my mom side. I didn’t ask anyone to talk to me about the pain I was feeling. I asked for links to other places for that. I would never try to gather support for my mom side from my adopted pals, I know that would be inappropriate but seeing as how there are other moms there, as well as a handful of adoptive parents, and I posted it in a section open to non-adoptees , I felt like it was safe. Wrong, wrong, wrong. So here I am vulnerable, very alone and extremely lost and I get SLAMMED! How DARE I??? HOW DARE YOU, YOU INCONSIDERATE BITCH??? What made me think I had any right to reach out to my “friends” for advice about where to go for the support I needed? Again I felt ashamed of who I am. Ashamed to be this person, this person who abandons after being abandoned. This fool who repeated the cycle.
So where does that leave me today? I don’t know. I’m certainly no longer confident enough to share my experience with others. I guess I need to pull back and start evaluating again. About all I do know at this point is that just because I feel comfortable with people it doesn’t mean they will feel comfortable with me. I can’t stop being who I am but I can stop interacting in places where I will meet with contempt. Back to the pushing it down, back to self preserving instead of healing.
I only have 34 months left before I HAVE to have this crap under control. In just under three years my son will turn 18. Who knows if he will search or want to know me when I search but I have to make sure I am healed enough on my own that I won’t hurt him with my crap. I’ve battled and beaten anorexia, post partum depression, the loss of two mothers, cancer and so much more by myself. I can do this alone too. I have to, my son might depend on it and before anything else I am a mother, his mother.