7000 Words for the Last 6 Months

-Just-Keep-Swimming

Gah, where to start?

I want to explain what has been happening in my life these last months, but it’s long and convoluted and some of it I don’t have a real explanation for.  I’m struggling to not have this be a long foray into some self indulgent rambling excuse fest, but being concise has never been a strong point of mine. I guess it’s just time to write and if you find it useful or interesting, keep reading.  I won’t make any promises that this has value to anyone but me. Really, I think it’s just time to stop saying these words in my head and to expel them.

I have been writing this post in my head now for months. Or perhaps, I should say I have been talking to you for months, but no one could hear me. I know that for many, it will seem like I just up and abandoned you and for some, this is true. I did. I am sorry for that, but I can only hope that you believe me when I say that it could not be helped. I fear that if I did not retreat when I did that something much worse than this absence might have played out.  People have told me that it was “healthy” to do this, though I am still somewhat plagued by the guilt I feel of letting others down.

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It started, I think, with my epiphany in March.

It’s kind of ironic that when I originally made my plans to attended the AAC conference in Boston with my son, that I was most concerned with how it would affect him. Truth be told, I think it was the beginning of a new process for me; the sudden and definitive realization that Adoption had not gotten the best of me. Despite what adoption is meant to do to a mother- essentially remove her – me- from the equation- it had not. I had “won”.

I knew then that something had shifted; there was a feeling that came.. a sense of “swoosh”.. and I could almost feel anger leaving me. I knew it had left and indeed, I had some sort of perhaps illogical fantasy that I was less ‘personally angry’ but still could manage a sense of resolve and fight against the institution of adoption. This was manifested in a great desire to rid myself of my red hair. Immediately. Perhaps my strange connection to my hair is shallow and weird, but it is what it is and I can’t apologized for that aspect of being myself. What was a good epiphany was the beginning of a change that wasn’t too good. Or maybe it was just that the process was harder than I could have imagined.

Different stages of my life have been marked by the variations on my head.  For instance, the period during my divorce and the ill-fated relationship between marriages, I was a bleached blond. It felt great, but then, when that relationship died it’s sudden death, I abandoned the blond. I remember thinking that the “blond girl” had been David’s girlfriend and since he was now gone, so was she.  Who I was had changed and so, therefore, must the way I looked. It was that same feeling that plagued me after Boston.  Granted, I had been tempted and toyed with the idea of seeing how much gray was really growing out of my head before, now it became more of a need. I needed to see who I really was.

The fantasy was that I would ditch my fiery redheadedness, signifying the loss of my “anger” and instead be gray, steely, hardened, but sharper like a sword. More determined, less emotional. More resolute. I call it , again, a fantasy; because that’s not quite what happened at all.  Back when I did last write, I had really believed that IF I did cut off my hair all would be solved;  something  new was ready to emerge as soon as the last red hair was shed.  I was hardly prepared for the reality of what really happened.

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I knew that I had had been a bit discouraged and maybe even a tad depressed.

Rye had been telling me for months that I was stressed, but I didn’t have the ability to see that.  It wasn’t stress to me- it was a great need to get things done.  I had things to do. I had huge lists of projects to get to and work to be down and things to talk about and obligations made, people to help!  And while I really did make a continual focused effort to take time off on the weekends  for the family, the fact is that even when it looked balanced on paper, adoption was working my mind pretty much 24/ 7. I woke up in the morning and went to my computer and spent the day online and on the phone; making sure I read literally EVERY Facebook update and feeling bad when I missed something or was not 100% on top of everything in AdoptionLand.  I struggled with being unable to read everyone’s blog post, or commenting appropriately or not writing a post for every event  or adoption happening around. And the lists, oh the lists of things I wanted to do or felt needed to be done or connections made or conversations to be had, or someone else to help, kept growing and growing. And for everything that I didn’t do, or couldn’t get too or didn’t work- I felt the fail.

I lived in New York City when I was younger. Pre-adoption, NYC was my Mecca and post Max, I always wanted to live there again, but realized that NY was kind of unhealthy for me. NY has too much going on. In NY, I cannot relax because the city has so much so offer, so much to do.  I could never image a person just sitting in the apartment in NY watching TV!  Not when there are art shows and dinners and parties to go to   Adoption and the internet are also like that for me.  I could not stand knowing that I missed online; yet also knew that I was only one person and was drowning.

At one point  before it had occurred to me that since I had quit working full time  out of the house in July of 2012, I had NOT stopped once really in three years ( and still couldn’t get it all done!)  When I was away, travelling, it was related to adoption.  When I had conversations with adults IRL and online; it was all about adoption.  When I watched TV, I was thinking about adoption and how anything I could see or hear about was a possible connection, a tool to perhaps get the truth heard.  Truth is, even in my sleep; it was all about adoption; in my dreams I am constantly travelling, constantly at conferences, and, perhaps most telling;  always late and lost and  freaking out because I am lost or I forgot something or I can’t find my shoes or phone. I was amused by the sudden realization that, as my own boss, I could give myself time off.  That I had been accruing a LOT of time off and that I was a lousy boss to myself because I forced myself to work all the time, yet, I would not have it any other way, right? I was happy following my passion and feeling like it did, somehow, make a difference.  I don’t question that part at all. I’m pretty damn secure in knowing that I have helped, what I was unable to see was the toll it was taking on me.  Yes, I knew that I failed at folding laundry and my house never was really clean. I resented having to cook dinner as it kept me offline. That I was forgetting to do anything that was not adoption related was surely, only a sign of my commitment and the ability to see what was really important in life, right?  It was all good.

Until it wasn’t.

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Despite having the ability to write the post describing some of the feelings I had before “the break” happened; I have to say that the whole thing was shocking for me. I knew something was up, but never expected in a million years that *I* would succumb to such a thing. Perhaps it’s time to explain that while I could acknowledge some feelings, the actions that ended up happening were not at all planned. Lord knows it was NEVER what I had at all intended. I never could understand how people could “stop” doing adoption stuff and just “go away”. I use to laugh and wonder at “taking a Facebook break” post and think “How could you LIVE WITHOUT FACEBOOK??”  Ah, the joke would soon be on me.

So, we go back to  the end of July where I know I am feeling “off” and that first weekend in August we have our annual neighborhood party. I am looking forward to it and, with my newly cut off hair, I am thinking that a weekend of real life relaxing is much needed for my mental health. Perhaps it will “fix” what ails me? Even better, my MIL had arranged to have Max visit as a surprise and that, of course, is just wonderful. I have my four babies around me and am in pure bliss.

Two things happened,  though, that weekend, that sent my already feeble self rolling.

For one, and it doesn’t seem quite as significant now, the visit was incredible normal. Yet, it felt kind of weird at the time. See, the neighborhood party is put on by a bunch of us on our street and there are probably over 100 folks, family, friends and neighbors that come by. And here I am- thrilled to have Max there, watching him hang with the other kids, just be part of the whole thing.. and NO ONE LOOKED AT US FUNNY.  Like no one noticed at all. It was NOT a big deal in anyway. I did not explain ONCE to ANYONE who Max was or why he was there or anything related to adoption. I was just a mom happy to have all my kids there- including the oldest one who lived out of state.  It felt so good.

And then, there was a conversation I had with Max. I don’t even recall exactly what it was about or the particulars. What I remember most was him talking about his family in Boston and saying to me something like “They are good people, you know?”  And my reply, was surprisingly real and genuine; I said “I know they are” or something to that affect. And the thing was. I did. I didn’t say that to be nice, or because he needed me to or because I thought that was what he wanted to hear or because I was trying to be “good” and proper or anything.  It was real.  And that surprised the heck out me.  There was another even stronger “swoosh” where I physically felt anger and other negative emotions leave my soul.  There was not even the tiniest bit of resentment or hurt or anything. In fact it was the opposite; I was actually somehow happy that my son DOES have a good family that he loves and that loves him. This feeling however completely contradicts all my knowledge and thoughts regarding the adoption institution and created a weird zone where things stopped making sense.

Now I should add here that I still am against the institution of adoption.  So my  confusion and feelings were of a very personal nature and it’s not like I am going to suddenly start saying that adoption can be good or anything crazy like that. The loss of anger was in relation to MY life and not by any means how I see adoption overall.  So don’t panic, K?

As usual, I started writing out these thoughts in my head that weekend, fully intending to write about it on the blog as usual, but there was this weird growing fear that this happiness and acceptance could somehow be misconstrued. A version of adoption survivors guilt? But still, though working though a funk of sorts, feeling that I needed a adoption vacation perhaps and yet excited about a great visit ; I did sit down at my computer that following Monday. I was not feeling it, but I had cut off my hair and now it was time to get back to work.   So I opened up my emails, dreading, as usual, all the pain and loss and requests that would be there and read an email from Candida, a mom in Texas. Just a simple short email that was kind and understanding though I had never talked to her before. She told me to take all the time off I needed. And when I read that, it was like being given permission to do what I could not.

I read it. I agreed. I closed my mailbox down and walked away from my computer thinking that I would give myself a few days off as needed.

It was to be more than a few days. Something had happened and I literally broke apart.

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Now I always said that I felt compelled to do this work, to speak out, to be a loud voice because I could. That there was an obligation to speak the truth for so many who were still silenced by their own situations or their pain and losses.  Suddenly, I could not.

Yes, I had been feeling hidey and down and vulnerable, but without warning it was like I was inside out. And even worse, to complicate it all, my long time saving graces- the internet, you in AdoptionLand and writing-was the problem!

It sounds very stupid now. I’m still having a hard time even explaining it, so it certainly was beyond me when it was happening. It even felt stupid then, but it was still very real.  Some of it, I know, was indeed insane premenopausal hormonal spikes/ dips and I did try to keep that in mind and in perspective, but it didn’t stop the terror I felt. And I do mean terror; cold sweats and a beating heart. My breathing would be altered and I would shake. I was talking myself down from panic attacks half the day and dreading another one the rest of my waking moments.  And I would cry.. cry out of frustration and guilt and the lack of control. I cried A LOT and more than half the time I have no idea why I was even crying. It was like that bad PMS day when you wake up and hate everything and hate your life and hate everyone and want to run away; but it was worse because it was weeks on end and logically I KNEW I didn’t hate everything and I had NOTHING to fear!

Yet, I was literally freaking out and could not understand why. The mere thought of going online induced panic attacks. *I* do not HAVE panic attacks. *I* don’t indulge such hysterics.  *I* was not one to be emotionally wacky. That is a weakness that has NEVER been part of who I am.  I can shoulder through on force of sheer will alone! Yet, my days now consisted of my wandering up and down the stairs all day chiding myself for not being able to DO anything.  I have NEVER been more indecisive in my life EXCEPT for when I was first pregnant with Max. In fact it was pretty much like the fear then except I was unable to hide it like a pregnancy. I became the deer in the headlights again- unable to do what I know I must do. Except that I couldn’t do it anymore!   And I certainly didn’t understand why or how it was happening, but I HAD to avoid EVEYTHING adoption.  I couldn’t even SIT at my desk without hyperventilating and feeling like I wanted to die. If the house phone rang, I was stricken. If my cell phone dinged I bugged out.  I shut everything off.  I could not enter my office;  forget sitting at my desk and Facebook took on the persona of a vampire wanting to suck my life out of me.

Thankfully, I did have a sense that what was happening WOULD BE OK in the end, that SOMETHING was working itself out, but that was all I could tell myself. I know I tend to take a while to process things, especially the big things and more often, I, believe it or not, don’t like to share or cannot share, until I have a sense of I understanding myself. So somehow, I could just let this horrible process happen.  I kept hoping that tomorrow I would feel Ok, but most of the tomorrows were like the day before! It just took so much longer than expected.

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I was horribly guilt filled for the even the thoughts going through my head and the lack of desire/ ability to be the person I had been before. I know I hurt people and left some folks down. All I can say is that I am sorry, but it literally could not be avoided.  The only thing I can say is that NO ONE should take it personally because indeed, it was not you, but me. And there certainly wasn’t any plan or concept of ignoring any one person. EVERYONE and everything was cut off abruptly. Ironically, after I had recovered some semblance of normality some would say; oh, I wish you had let me know.. but that was the thing.. I could not communicate what was happening to anyone. It was and still is difficult to convey to a person in real life, but if you are having panic attacks facing your email box, you can’t really email folks so they understand your panic attacks. Catch 22.

So I was in an equal opportunity situation and everyone was ignored.  I couldn’t pick and choose. ALL were just cut off.

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What I later came to realize is that in the absence of the “angry” feelings I didn’t really know how to function. What really can be seen as a healthy letting go, created an immense vacuum in myself. There was a sudden stillness that was truly frightening.

I had always said that my anger was what I used to fuel my fire. It was what propelled me into action. It is what gave me the drive. It was my steam and when it left me like that, I was just plain out of steam.  Yet it was weird, so weird, because I knew that in relation to AdoptionLand, I was depressed, but yet, I could function in real life.  Granted there were days when I did watch too much TV or play too much candy crush, but I did get up, I did cook dinner, I did drive the kids about, we did go out. And, for the first time in pretty much forever, my laundry was not piled up and even the sock basket was close to empty. I repainted the foyer and upstairs hallways. I redid the basement floors. I spent over two weeks sewing the most elaborate Halloween costumes for Rye and myself and we hosted our annual bash. And I hugged my cat A LOT.  His fuzzy cuteness got me though more than one pit of fear. I was pretty much fine when the house was filled and I had things to do, but the long days where adoption would fill my every waking moment.. that was a huge void mostly filled with waves of panic.  So I could function by most accounts I was “fine” , but adoption? Nope. Not only could the idea still fill me with fear but the lack of any desire to even hear the word “adoption” was even more frightening to me.

It was like I had no idea who I was at all. In losing the anger, I lost myself and only had fear.

Of course, I knew the fear was irrigational which only proved to be more frustrating. Again, the bizarre hormonal crap happening did NOT help this at all.  (and please don’t offer any advice on supplements of replacement therapies for menopausal stuff. I CANNOT, and this fact, handle any of that. I need to just let nature take its course here. It’s how my body is wired.)

I tried to apply things I knew to explain it all. Perhaps this was the “post reunion grief reaction” that so many moms had only about 10 years too late? Maybe I had regressed to my 19 year old self hence the reoccurring of the “deer in the headlights ” pregnancy thing? Perhaps it was a weird mental need to go back to denial since I certainly didn’t want adoption anything? Perhaps I was having a weird mental break or was really losing my mind?

There were, however, some things that I did learn and that I think were good about the whole thing.

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I should note here that through this time frame, Rye was an absolute treasure of support. Lord knows he didn’t really get what was happening to me because I certainly didn’t get it either, but he honored my space and did what I needed him to do even when it was my need for total internet black out and privacy. I banned any mention of me online, No tagging. No real answers to anyone. Just the standard “She’s fine and on a break.” Though I did let him post a few pics here and there to reassure all that I was still alive and functioning. We came to calls these our “proof of live” pics because I didn’t doubt that some folks were worried and we didn’t want to provoke a wellness check form the KPD.    So besides being a very strong defender and a mighty gatekeeper/ barrier (and if you tried to get to me through him; you know what I mean!), he gave me the upmost freedom to do….nothing. The one thing that I am extremely grateful is the positive affect this whole episode has had on my marriage. We were good before, we are even better now. In fact, this whole “break” has been an extremely good thing overall on my family.

I have to say in that vein, that this whole thing has been a godsend in that way. The kids are getting older. Scarlett just turned 15 and Tristan is 13 now; truth be told I have not been 100% involved with them ever. Even if I was physically with them before, my mind was usually in AdoptionLand and most of the time I was plugged into my keyboard. But these are my last kids. These are the final five years of my active parenting and it feels important, heck, it IS important now, more than ever, that I am more present in their lives. I have been joking in the self degrading way that I have been a glorified housewife and mom taxi these last  6 months; I have found my inner Martha Stewart again, but that part actually feels good.

There is another part of my head trip that I really shouldn’t ignore either; I will soon be 48 and my own mother only lived untilled until just 51. There is a part of me that cannot help but to think that if I should echo her timeline, I know I would rather have had my family be closer.   Part of the “I win” also means that I do not let adoption take any more away from my children… any of my children.

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And I do believe now that it was something that I HAD to do. As I said, I didn’t have any idea the level of stress that I had been carrying with me. I didn’t see the pressure I had put myself under. It was like I was a junkie, addicted to the conflicts, addicted to the daily angst and pain while being unable to see the toll it was taking on me and the effects on my life. Detox hurt.

Often, when asked for post reunion behavior advice, I will tell folks to “take adoption out of the equation” and measure the actions of that relation based on “normal rules”. I had to apply this to myself not in the sense of my actual relationship with Max, but in my interactions in all life. Like the days when I would find myself watching a movie on TV; I would have to tell myself that this was normal.  That normal people did these things and it was OK. It was normal to relax and read a book. It was normal and OK to not achieve some great but fleeting victory online. It was normal and good to just hang out with my kids.  I almost had to relearn how to be a regular person again.
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The other thing I discovered was that there was now a huge discrepancy in how I feel verses who I portray.

I am known for being a birthmother. You Google birthmother and no matter where you are in the USA, you get me. This is my claim to “fame”.   Yet, think about it. I am known for the biggest mistake in my life. My days and nights are spent fixated on the most horrific and painful moments of my life.  My “job” was to relive that pain as often as possible, to communicated that every day to strangers to take on the judgment and scorn and ignorance in a daily battle of self justification.

Now I am not blaming anyone else for this. I know it was my own doing; yet in my deep process I also began to understand that just as I created myself and made myself into such a public figure, I could also just stop.

That was both simultaneously incredible powerful and frightening at the same time. I could stop. No one was making me really do this. As I always said, no one sent me an engraved invitation; I just took it upon myself. So it could also be undone.

I felt like I actually wanted to stop. Even after the massive panic and fear attacks started to subside, I still had no desire to Do what I would normally do. After the first 3-4 months when I had no choice but to stop, but I could not image what I would do if I didn’t ever “go back”. Who would I be? What in God’s name would I DO with myself? That was the question left and I had no answer.

The internet and my computer put me into a panic. I had no anger to fuel my fire. I really wanted to be just left alone and try to disentangle adoption from my life. And I  the only person really pushing me to do this was myself. Yet all these revelations still were confusing and made me rather unhappy.

Which was art of the rub. I feel like I am having some weird emotional breakdown mid life crisis. Yes, I did put myself out there and help as much as possible because I could. I was compelled, driven, passionate. I believe it needed to happen and the work was fulfilling. I had felt good about what I was doing and trying to make a difference. I had been always optimistic. But somewhere in that all, I think I lost myself and became unable to tell what feelings were mine and what was outrage and empathy for the pain and loss of others.  I needed to come back to a ground zero where I could understand how *I* felt about the loss of my son *now*. Just as I needed to see what my natural hair color really was, I needed to see who I really was.

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Now if you know me much at all; you know that I have often preached against the “drama”.  I have also tried my best to NOT contribute to it; thought there have been times when I feel my hand has been forced and I had to for various reasons. I can say that the reasoning wasn’t based on my hurt feelings, but as a quest for a version of truth. I can say there have been other times that I have been hurt by others and we are aren’t just talking about some triggering post or a mean hearted  troll at some computer somewhere, but by people I knew and trusted. Those hurts, that were just mine, I have kept inside, but truthfully it has seemed in the past year that there were more folks who seemed to feel the need to be critical or tell me what I should be doing or how I was doing something was wrong. I can tell you that it got old fast.

On the flip side, watching drama over and over again break out and hurt the community also got really old. Sometimes it felt like everything that I was working for was going right up in flames and there was nothing I could do, but turn away.  You know how they say the sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So my attempts at turning the other cheek when I could and then living by example seemed to have the same effect as beating my head against the wall, yet I am still unsure of what other options there are. The simple fact was that I did need a break from all of it.

Bitching aside though, that was not the heaviest weight. This crap has been a constant for years and I suspect it always will. The fact is, there are just too many of us deeply hurt by the trauma and trust issues run deep.  I think that alone could have been OK; just part and parcel of the work.

It was all the pain of others that I carried. It was the personal responsibility that I took on myself and then the pleas for help.  See, I don’t feel all that special. I don’t feel like an inspiration or a cultural hero of sorts. And truthfully, I greatly doubt my own powers. I really cannot make miracles happen for others. I can’t make the media care. I can’t get the laws to change. I cannot make your pain go away.  Perhaps I know more? But even then, guys, it’s all just self taught and from being around for a decade and a half. Without my anger to hold me up, I think I crumpled under the weight of the collection angst.

In my zeal to help, in my desire to carry the load and rid others, I managed to lose myself.  I needed to physically separate myself from all of you so that I could being to understand how *I* felt about adoption and how it was actually affecting my life. I think I literally had no idea what my own emotions were anymore because I was all entwined with everyone else.  The anger was most notable absent, but what else  was there?  This kept me busy for weeks, months.

And again, more paradoxes; how can I be some sort of spokesperson for pain if I find, that in some ways, I, myself am healed?  Without the anger, I felt completely unauthentic.  And how am I suddenly going to be able to say ‘”Oh by the way,  AdoptionLand, you know how I have said that birthmothers cannot ever heal? Yeah, I was wrong. See, I’m fine now.”

See what I mean about a massive identity crisis?

The other massive piece of the puzzle I found was also a great cause for the “lack” thereof desire. I knew that I had to WANT to come “back”; that it couldn’t feel forced or expected. It had to be an authentic real desire to function in our world again. Another strong piece of motivation was attached to the loss of anger and this took some deep searching to fully understand.
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I don’t need to redeem myself anymore.  I am no longer seeking redemption.  And while I don’t think I will ever really know who exactly I was redeeming myself to- myself, Max, the world-  I no longer feel the need to have to prove anything. Continually talking about the biggest mistake of my life and explaining over and over again how I regret it is no longer an exercise that I require.  There were some of you who did manage to get that message through to me and for that, I am grateful. I heard you. It helped to hear that I did not need to prove or explain myself to anyone.  It helped to hear that I had done enough. That took a while to sink in.

Of course, having adoption itself be such a major part of my identity for so long also left a huge void. Again,  while being free of the need to redeem was freeing, what was left in its place?  I struggled greatly with this concept that I could do anything I wanted, but what did I want and again, was I not, at least believing I was happy before all this? My work did give me a great sense of fulfillment, or did it? And around I would go again!

What would I DO if I was not the crazy adoption obsessive internet chick?

And really, while I let all the fear and pain take over; and accepted that something massive was going on in my psyche, and cried and shook and walked my house like a confused ghost, I had to let all these swirling things just work their way through. I had to let the dust settle.  And once the dust began to settle I had to figure out what was my next move, because the one thing I cannot refute is that my habits were emotionally unhealthy for me on some levels and jumping right back into the same routine would be a bad idea.

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Again, others told me this was healthy even if it didn’t feel good at all. Personally regrouping. Finding my boundaries.  Now, having come through the other side, it still has a nasty aftertaste of some sort of self indulgence to me.  And  while perhaps I don’t “owe” anyone an explanation, I think it’s good to share these kinds of things so perhaps another could find solace in being able to relate. Plus I hate  even the possibility that someone might have thought that I was so “together” that I was immune to this sort of insanity. Obviously, I’m not. Though it was horrible at times, I suppose it is a normal stage of growth or emotional development or perhaps just another part of ” the gift that keeps on giving”. Not sure on that one, but thankfully, I did always believe that eventually it would pass and kept waiting for the day that I feel “normal” again.

Anyway, the last few months, I have been able to wean myself off pure panic and though baby steps get back to feeling comfortable sitting at my desk.  Granted at first it was to play endless games of Stronghold, but a girl can only battle Sir Lancelot for so long.  Thankfully, in the last month, the desire to actually read things online has increased. At first there was more amusement at stupid cat videos, but in the last two weeks, I have been able to read adoption stuff.  It actually felt good to have a desire to comment. I felt like something important had returned, though I did want to get this post done first. And while actually ANSWERING the emails piled up in my account is still NOT happened, I have begun to look at them.  It’s the little things.

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I don’t think I will be same person I was.  I don’t think I want to be. I don’t think I can be.

Since I have been able to think about adoption again, I have accepted that it is and will always be  in my life. It’s not like I ever really did manage to stop thinking about it even when the thoughts made me freak out. I do THANKFULLY feel so much more myself again and that includes  adoption, but I don’t want it to be my sole identity. I cannot be a “birthmother” anymore 24/7. I am much more than that. I deserve to be more than walking billboard for the worst moment of my life.  I deserve to  be happy without having to prove it, or prove my worth., or that I have suffered enough, or that I regret it all the time. I have learned that I deserve to have a life where adoption is not always a major part. I know it’s always going to be there and sometimes I will talk about it and sometimes, I will rail against it, but there is more to this all then that pain. SO much more.

I miss writing. I want to keep writing, but I don’t need to be THE authority or end all be all.  Again, I always said I did because I can. I can’t. It’s someone else turn now. It will be OK. I know the world kept turning without me and you know it will too.

I have thought that if I AM a real writer and people do like what I say and how I say it, perhaps I can talk and write about things that are NOT adoption related. Maybe I am wise in other ways too? Maybe I have good things to say about parenting and marriage and politics and my community? Maybe my voice is more than just the voice of a mother who lost and found her son through adoption?

I DO want to clean up the site a bunch. I will not take it down, but housekeeping is in order. I think perhaps that I will focus more on MY stuff not the whole damn world? Maybe. Not sure yet, but it will stay as a resource. I’m still kind of kicking myself for missing the ten year anniversary of blogging. I sat there that day in December and cursed myself and the bad timing. I had SO been looking forward to that milestone for a while, but alas, tempted as I might have been to share that day, my need to NOT was still stronger.

Anyway, I know that I will be writing more about what this life is like now with the disappointed anger. I want to explore that more and perhaps find a way to share  a less painful path here?  I’d like to explore the feelings of what I am calling Adoption Survivor’s Guilt more. And also play out what has worked to get to this better place in reunion/ post reunion normality.

Aside from that I have figured out a few things that I would like to do when I am not taxing the kids about.  If I don’t I fear I might become a daily vacuumer like my own mother and that just won’t fly.

The problem too is that almost ANYTHING I think of has a strong internet component, so in many ways my hands have been tied until now. I surely couldn’t suddenly open an online store selling handmade cat ties ( yes, I am toying with this idea. My damn cat looks so cut as a “very important business cat” and it’s MUCH faster than the cat sweaters I knit) until this post was able to be written. I like sewing.  I have tons of fabric stored in attic from when I was an interior designer and I am sick of them gathering dust.  I might start making quilts. Maybe not.

Mostly these last few months I have spent time THINKING about what I want to do but not really doing it. At all.  It’s really hard sometimes to decide on one thing when everything is a possibility! I kept waiting for the universe to send me a message, but maybe we are out of synch?

I did apply for a job at Planned Parenthood  and have a new huge bug up my butt about the sex ed classes in my town’s high school. While I totally feel the PP Educational Outreach is so tailor made for me and know I would rock  this job off the charts, the reality is I probably won’t get it because my “paper” credentials aren’t enough.  Of course I can do something like this on my own, but I worry that switching out Obsessed Adoption Chick  for  Obsessed Sex Ed Mom is just asking for history to repeat itself.

And I think I want to paint.. not just walls of my house, but art.  I have a gut feeling that THAT will be the final sign that I have come full circle.  I haven’t been able to create art for the pure love of art since adoption entered my life.. but that wall, too, feels much weaker than ever.

Anyway, I do feel like I have entered some new phase.  My thanks to all who did understand and sent kind words.  I just had to swim alone for a while even though I felt like I was drowning,  until I got to the other side. Anyway, I made it. Thanks for waiting.

-Just-Keep-SwimmingGood thing we have that damn good advice from a goofy cartoon fish.

 

Just. Keep. Swimming.

 

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

4 Comments on "7000 Words for the Last 6 Months"

  1. Amen, sistah. And thank you for baring your soul to the world about what’s been going on in your life lately.

    Though I’m not glad you had all of the panic/anxiety attacks, I AM glad that you’re now able to use them and the break you took as a catalyst to rethink and reaffirm your values and life mission.

    Way to go Claud!

    (And by the way, the last section brought tears to my eyes.)

  2. It’s always an odd feeling to read what someone else has written and know you could have written it yourself–not in the same words but with the same essential content. That’s how I feel about this, Claud. What you describe is very much like what I’ve been going through myself, though perhaps not in quite as dramatic a fashion. Reunion mandates a total reorganization of self, a new identity. I, too, thought I had found my calling, writing about my experience with adoption and my opposition to most adoptions, domestic infant and international. For a while I thought I’d incorporate my first son into my family and our lives and we’d all move merrily along together. I thought the same when we adopted my Vietnamese son. I’d pull him into the family (one son then, later joined by a daughter) and the fact that he was black/Vietnamese and we were white would matter not at all. I was wrong about everything. I’ve always been a writer in search of a subject. With adoption I thought I’d found it and started a blog. That was cathartic for a while, but I’ve said everything I dare to say. What’s left is too deep to be shared with anyone, at least for now. My family blew apart: my first husband never let me forget my huge mistake (getting pregnant by someone else before I met him), my adopted son had many behavior and emotional problems, I got divorced, I got remarried, I got divorced again and remarried again. My family is not the Waltons, with John-boy, Erin, and Elizabeth et. al. loving each other to sleep every night. There is a lot of love in my family, but it’s not like that. After four years, lots of therapy, and a myriad of emotions, I feel more normal than I have in a long time, but I’m still trying to find my feet–as you so deftly describe. You are pre-menopausal; I just turned 70. Coming to terms with that milestone can be a challenge in itself, let me tell you. I, too, used to think about adoption 24/7. Now it’s just one of the many things I think about, and I believe I’m closer to accepting the way things are. Is that healing? Survival? Perhaps. I, like you, am left with the question, What now? I haven’t written in my blog in months. Have I said everything that’s in me? If I don’t write, then what am I? Who am I? I’ve thought of various projects and volunteer possibilities, but none of them grabs me the way writing does. But what do I have left to say? Your comments here drew this out of me, and for that, as for much else, I’m grateful. I have no advice, no answers–for either of us. But for what it’s worth, I think I understand what you’ve been and are going through. I still dye my hair, but mostly I try to let things happen naturally and unfold as they will. What’s the line from that song? “You can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.” I prefer waiting quietly to the stormy anguish I felt in early reunion. Now I invest my emotions and care in my grandsons. They have reconnected me. To just about everything.

  3. You have done enough for all eternity– you have fought with passion you have stood with strength, you have bared your vulnerability for all to see in defiance of what has been done. This… what was done, to you, to others, was not your fault. We all should do what we can, sometimes we are called to be hero’s in the storm, the shelter the vulnerable, to fight injustice we never should have been left to face. But no one should be called to such things. The hope- we make a world where none face these things, and when we do, we face them together. You are not alone- this weight is not meant for your shoulders alone, but all of us, all of to carry for each other. We will have many purposes in our lives– you have completed the calling within you to blaze like fire against this injustice. And now, you can shine as a gentle candle of light- for your own life, for your own family, for yourself- and let yourself be carried in the arms of love. You can’t even know how or why to do that for others unless you know what it’s like. You …are… sooo beautiful….. toooo meeee!   hehe.   There are many hero’s among us, let some of them carry that blazing torch that burns the soul for a while….

  4. I’m glad you are back! You helped me come out of the fog. I’m sorry you had to go through all that and I’m glad you survived! I missed you!

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