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Adopted? We’ll tell you…eventually

16 Nov

On a certain message board I peruse every so often, there’s a “discussion” about when the right time to tell a child they’re adopted is. The person writing the article states that their 6 year old doesn’t know, and that basically, he’s sick of people,”experts” telling him she should have a basic understanding of where she came from by now. He’ll tell her when he’s good and ready is what the message seems to be.

I’m adopted. I believe I was adopted somewhere between 3 and 6 months of age. My parents are the people who raised me, wiped my ass, vouched for me in the principal’s office, and gave me shit for swearing (oops-sorry Dad). Never, EVER have I doubted the love my parents have for me. And never have I not known I was adopted.

There was never one moment of not knowing, never some grand conversation about storks or nice people who couldn’t keep me. These were continual conversations, but also conversations akin to talking about my elbows. Adoption was how the got me, I don’t look like them, and someday, I might want to see the people I do look like. Period. You are OUR child, but your past, and the people who made you, that’s a bit of a story.

The thought of being any age and suddenly finding out your parents aren’t exactly your parents is incredibly scary to me as an adoptee. You build your identity around who you believe you come from. My non-identifying information had pegged me as Dutch-French, as so I developed some assumptions about my genetic heritage.

Yeah, turns out it’s Dutch-English. I had made my identity, in part, based in who I thought I was. And suddenly, I wasn’t that person anymore. I was someone else, and it took awhile to assimilate just that tiny piece into my brain, and personality. Which can be trying when you’re 18.

So imagine being 10 or so, and suddenly your parents say “Hey, you know how you’re kinda tall and we kinda aren’t? Well, there’s a good reason for that.”

BOOM. goes your brain. BOOM. goes your identity.

I’m not who I think I am. My parents lied to me, didn’t tell me the truth. My parents aren’t my parents.

Who do you think will handle this better? This kid who has always known, or the kid that wakes up one day thinking she has her mother’s eyes only to realize the next day that the people she thought were like her really aren’t?

Isn’t that a cruel sick joke to play on a child?

Mother Mother, are you listening?

9 Nov

I have a mom, and a mother.

My Mom is dead, long gone to the rot of cancer in her breasts. My mother, the woman whose heart I rested under for 9 months, does not speak to me. She bore me a sister I never see as well.  Perhaps she once loved me, somehow, somewhere.

I was watching the rain on the bus last night and thinking how I have 2 mothers, and yet I have none. I float alone as a woman, with no guides, no mentors, just me, trying to pick my way through, decide how I shall be a mother.

I meditated on the subtle difference between “Mom” and “Mother”

My mother birthed me, suffered my kicks and punches, held me briefly. My Mom wiped my tears from my eyes, hid my presents on birthday mornings, talked to me about how I was soon to become a woman. She never got to finish that conversation, yet I remember the camisole with the wolf eyes I loved so much.

My mother signed papers to relinquish me to the arms of another woman. My Mom’s arms gladly, joyfully filled that void. My Mom’s hands held me, pinned me into patterns, showed me how to do my nails. My mother moved on with her life, somehow.

I think about both of them daily. I think of who I would have been with either of them in my life, or both of them. I think of how different of a woman I would be for their influence, instead of being molded by their lack of being, by the void they have left in my life.

My Mom had to leave. My mother had the chance to be part of my life again, and refused.

The rain doesn’t give me any answers I didn’t already have. I have become a mother, and a Mom. I set my own example now.

To you who searched “my birthmother hates me”

26 Oct

You made me cry this morning, first thing at work as I stared at those words in my referrers list. It was stark, and hard, that combination, the simple sadness of it, the anger too.

I doubt she hates you. Not the “you” that thinks about where the universe ends, and where good food hides when you’re hungry. The “you” she doesn’t like is the one who took over her body, possibly the you who caused her parents to treat her like a thing, demand she give you up. Maybe the you she hates is the one she sees in herself. What she could have been. Where she could have gone.

How different her life could have been, if only, if only.

Do not take her words, or your impressions, to guide your life. She was only the vessel. She did not teach you to read, kiss your cuts and sores, hold you when your heart broke. She did not explain why life isn’t fair. She didn’t hold you through the night when sick, or handle 3 months of colic.

She’s not there now, when you sit up late at night, wondering what to do with your children, how to make them who you want them to be. She’s not there when you wonder why your hands are as they are, or why you cramp just so.

She’s not there.

She doesn’t hate you, she hates the idea of you, who you represent, everything she has lost, who she thought you would be. She hates your choice in wife or husband.  She hates your perfume.

She only hates as much of you as she’s allowed. So take it back.