help from hubby

My husband physically got me out of bed in the morning.  The first time, I was not liking being verticle, so I got back in bed.  About 15 minutes later, he came in and got me out of bed again, threw my arms around his neck as if to piggyback me and walked me to the couch, ignoring my protests.  He was fixing a friend’s computer and I guess just wanted the company, and he didn’t seem to mind that the company was puny…I found it all very sweet.

If you’re going to be sickly and on the couch all day, you couldn’t ask for anything better than a Star Trek movie marathon.  During the commercial breaks I read articles and adoption blogs.  Eventually, I asked my husband, ‘Do you think I offended [my son] by contacting him?’  True to his truth-teller form he said, “Well, at least you give a sh**,” and he went on to expound by pointing out that it wasn’t like birthparents who refuse contact or who lets their family member go all the way to Vietnam and then asks for money (referring to a documentary we watched called Daughter from Danang).  I looked at him, smiled, took his hand and said, ‘Thank you, baby.’  I needed that.

And you know?  I do care.  I never stopped caring, and I never will.  That is the truth, and I’ll always have the truth.  Sometimes one has to let the truth be enough.  Hearing it?  Helped.

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coping

When this all builds up to the point of becoming unmanageable, my habit since 2008 has been to cram a few things indiscriminately into a bag, run to my car, drive as quickly as I can within the legal limits, and get to the nearest wilderness…the farther away from the sounds of machinery of any kind, the hum of electricity, etc., the better.  Add water, especially a running river…bonus, big time!  It’s absolutely the only thing that can truly get me settled down once I reach the point of feeling like I could easily explode.  Before I went with my impulse to head to the woods, I don’t know what I did…perhaps just lived in a state of perpetual meltdown???

Now I’m married and caring for an elderly parent, so that’s not as much of an option…thusly…thuh blog.

When I started this blog, I didn’t promise that any of this was going to make sense.  I just promised, myself, really, that I was going to process this latest stage I’ve reached with having relinquished my child this way, by writing.

Tonight I watched an hour news program focusing on one case of a 16-year-old girl who was brutally murdered and buried in the desert, watched as family members painfully recounted the experience of dealing with their daughter/sister’s death.  No matter how bad a situation can feel, I can always look around and find a scenario that someone else is grappling with that probably feels worse.  Oddly, knowing that someone else has a tougher issue to work through doesn’t help in the really tough times.

It’s a cycle I go through.  It just so happens that at this juncture the part of the cycle I am currently in is the brutal part.  I’ll get through it.  I always do.  The difference now is that I want to somehow take my pain and do something with it that will make a difference – perhaps even be a part of another woman being spared the pain of adoption separation.

I’m also mourning the loss of more children.  In my thirties, I wanted 4 more boys – rowdy, active, all-boy boys.  As I started approaching 40, I told God, ‘Never mind.  You should’ve seen to it while I was still interested!’  Part of me still couldn’t quite let it go, though, my chance at motherhood.  And I realized a couple of years ago that I really wanted a daughter too.  One day while doing some gardening a few months back, hot anger shot through me at all the time it took to finally find the man I could see myself with for the rest of my life only to find out that he doesn’t want kids.  That day doing the gardening I asked God, ‘Is this some kind of sick, cosmic joke?’  The part of me that also does not want kids is pretty pronounced at this point, but the part that wanted it is still pissed, still hurting.

There is nothing else to do but go through the stages of grieving.  There is no bargaining with loss…it isn’t listening…it doesn’t care.

Humanity

We live in an imperfect world with no perfect answers.  I don’t actually believe I have the answers to the hard questions surrounding adoption.  What I do have is eyes and ears, and the stories I hear of traumatized birth mothers are much like my own, and the songs and dances we ask of our children who are adopted are irrational and unreasonable.  What I feel is there has to be a better way for mothers and for children.  If adoption must be then there has to be a more humane way to handle it than what has come to be accepted and deemed acceptable, there has to be!  What has come to be accepted is unacceptable.

Being a birth mother is not the sum total of who I am.  The grieving, the injustice, the anger, the self-doubt, all of what I have expressed on this site thus far is not the space I occupy all the time.  I do laugh.  I do smile, and I know that my smile comes from a genuine place.  I have a husband of nearly 2 years who is very much a bright spot in my life.  I love to garden.  I love to be in nature.  I love children and am no longer afraid of loving children (it took a few years…).  I love animals.  I have a dog.  She is an 8-pound wonder!  I passionate about the environment and alternative medicine.  I am musically and otherwise artistically inclined, but I lack focus and commitment.  I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being just one thing: a musician, a painter, a sculptor, etc. (leastwise, that’s my excuse, and, gosh-darnit, I’m sticking to it!).

I am a person of faith.  I have been on a journey of following Christ Jesus for 18 years and have been through a great many things with that as well.  It has been a joyful and rewarding journey, but it has not always been an easy one, and it has not been without trouble; it has not been without pain.  I have listened to many sermons and many admonitions to rise above all these circumstances.  I have listened in earnest to how I, as a believer in Christ, should be, think, feel, and behave.  To try and live up to it has left me feeling, to be very honest, pretty inadequate.

I don’t know if I’m supposed to be this, or supposed to be that, all these things I’ve heard: whatever the “who’s who in the Christian zoo” happens to be by whose ever authority it is to say I should be this or be that.  That said, I have decided that, at this juncture of my journey, it seems the most spiritual thing I can do is allow myself to be a human being.  That doesn’t mean I give myself license to go out and participate in some kind of crazy, stupid sin. It’s not even close to being about that.  It just means that when it’s time to feel what I’m feeling, I let myself feel that instead of putting on a brave face.  It means finding my way to being what I am meant to be by looking to the One who sought me out and loved me unflinchingly when I needed it most.

Right now, what I am is a mother grieving over being separated from her child.  It doesn’t matter that it was self-imposed.  I am learning to live with what is and process what circumstances have dictated I avoid until now.  My wish is to be reunited with my child.  For that to have a fighting chance of potentially transitioning to forming a relationship with my son, these things of my state of humanity must be dealt now with lest they betray me at inopportune moments and sabotage whatever chance or chances I may have of getting to know him.

Breathe

I want to find a way to do that, just breathe…breathe and trust the process. I need to find my way back to some gratitude – and not the false advertising kind of gratitude, but gratitude that comes from a place of rest, rest in the knowledge that everything will work out for the best.

I gave birth in my native Northwest Arkansas but moved to California just before my son’s 2nd birthday and was there until he was almost 18. The last 10 years while there, I had a pastor who, upon many attempts to escape, discouraged me from coming back to the area I’m from and where my son lives. I valued his input, so I heeded his words though I desperately didn’t want to. But, I tell you, if just one word had come my way even hinting that my son needed me here, I’d have crawled on my hands and knees the 2,000 miles if I had to – even if the pastor would have strictly forbidden it. My son is a part of me where I will not be deterred, and I will not be moved.

I went to rehab after moving to Cali and sobered up. And when I say I sobered up, I mean, it really scared the piss out of me when I stopped drinking and doing the things I was doing long enough to realize how incredibly, insanely, unnaturally lucky I was to be alive and how close death’s door was to swallowing me whole. It would have come so quickly I’d have never known what hit me and eaten me up without remorse and without a moment’s thought or hesitation. While I was in my addiction, I didn’t really care if it did come. But when I started coming out of the fog, and started waking up to reality, I found a very ferocious desire to live all of a sudden. After a few years of getting my head screwed back on straight, of course, I was devastated at what it had cost me. My choices had cost me my son…my beautiful, beautiful son…

Once I decided that I was going to let the pregnancy come to term, I did quit drinking and smoking cigarettes, and everything else. I took really good care of myself, in fact. But I didn’t do any kind of program or anything then. I just quit to focus on something else. Even though I wasn’t drinking or using any other intoxicants, I wouldn’t call myself sober because I definitely wasn’t thinking like a sober person…and I do know the difference now. One must reprogram one’s mind to think like a sober person in order to stay sober. For me, this is an irrefutable fact. So when my thinking started functioning more soberly, I really wanted nothing else but to go back and choose to raise my son. I spent a good 2 years in nothing but mourning over that, to the point I could do little else.

I knew I couldn’t rip him from the only parents he’d ever known by that point, but I did start to seriously regret having not insisted on the possibility of having contact with him in some form or another. So, finally, when my son was around age 9, I worked up the courage to write to his adoptive parents and express my regret at having shut myself completely out of his life. I asked if it might be possible to have some kind of contact with him. They wrote back to me fairly quickly and very politely shut that down.

There was nothing else to do but persevere. It was like trudging through sludge. I look back on that time, that very lonely, lonely and very hard time…it is amazing the things we can endure that necessity dictates. If one chooses not to end her life, then living through these things becomes a non-option. Don’t tell me there isn’t grace!!! If there wasn’t grace, the anguish would have vaporized me. For me, that is another one of those irrefutable facts.

I don’t know what I expected when he turned 18, but I wasn’t about to not be close by if he did express that he wanted to meet me. Coming back to the place of his birth and the place where he grew up was like visiting the scene of the crime. I had to drive through the town where he was raised twice a day to get to work for over a year. I was hit with wave after wave of pure grief for the first few months, and then the old familiar and faithful perseverance kicked in. Didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. It just means I learned to cope.

I still don’t know what I expect, and I’ve actually put forth considerable effort into letting my only expectation be to meet him and let things unfold very naturally as they will. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a relationship to develop from that meeting, but I am also very aware that I have no control over the outcome. Want and expectation are 2 different things to me. Expectation, to me, carries with it an air of entitlement that I find very ugly. It is not always easy to avoid the pitfall of expectation, but the hand I’ve been dealt in this life has helped me learn a thing or two about avoiding it (ironic laugh). Want is a completely different – and, I feel, a necessary – thing for ensuring any kind of quality of life. The things I want in life help inspire me to get out of bed and put forth the effort required to get from day to day and find my place in this world. I want a relationship with my son, so much more than I can express with words. I expect nothing except what he will decide and do where I am concerned. People will only give you what they are willing to give wholeheartedly, and if they are willing to give you anything at all from the true value and beauty of who they are, then that is a gift and certainly not something to be taken lightly or for granted.

I acknowledge that the potential for having my heart broken exists. I’ve been aware of this potential for over 20 years. But, then, that is the risk one takes in bringing a human being into this world. Humans come into this world endowed with fully functioning wills of their own, and they will make choices throughout the courses of their lives according to those wills (those pesky, pesky wills…). Some of those choices will break people’s hearts…some of the people whose hearts might get broken might happen to be their own parents, a mom, a dad, natural or otherwise. I’ve come to accept that heartbreak is just part of the risky business of living in the skin of humanity…