To “One Day”

The ping from my phone notified me that I had a comment on one of my posts. Since I had a moment, I opened it up to read it, as I do with all the comments I get on my blog. This one, however, caught me off guard. It wasn’t that the contents were unkind or surprising (and I’ve had my share of those).  It was the idea that was being presented to me.

Since the adoption has closed, I’ve spoken quite candidly about the grief, frustration, and isolation that comes along with it. As The Kiddo ages, I grow more and more anxious that he’s not being given the proper opportunity to make contact decisions. In my opinion, it’s one thing if his adoptive parents are trying to control the narrative of this story, but it’s another for him to be the one calling the shots, as I feel he should be. It’s his story, and I feel strongly that he should be the one driving it. My concern grows as each month, then year passes. Are they giving him the opportunity to walk through this doorway? What are they telling him about the adoption? About me? Are they even telling him anything, and just hoping that he’ll just “forget” his biology?

This particular comment suggested that I reach out to his adoptive parents every single time we are in the area he lives in. He suggested, that after every attempt, I keep a record so that when contact does happen, I can say, “Look, I tried. I kept trying for years.” Initially, I went into the Good Birthmother mode, my inner dialogue shushing me, and telling me it would be incredibly rude to do such a thing. How dare I request a visit when I’m in town? That’s totally out of line, and goes against all the “rules” I was taught by LDSFS.

Yet, there we were, in the area, with days left of the trip. It seemed simple enough. There was time to make a visit happen. I started imagining all the ways we could gather both our respective families together, how joyous it could be. Oh but then reality hit me. I don’t have that sort of adoption. I don’t have the kind where it would be welcomed news that I was in town, and wanting to see The Kiddo and his parents. It wouldn’t be met with excitement, but with anger, questioning of my intentions, and a good heaping dose of incredible disrespect.

What was I thinking? 

I stewed about it overnight, having an internal conversation that recycled repeatedly. I felt that pit open up in my stomach, the same one that happened before I had to write the letter to the adoptive parents telling them if they didn’t want to introduce me as his birthmother, I wouldn’t be introduced as a “family friend” at his baptism. It was the same pit I felt after my husband had reached out to them hoping to finally initiate more openness, the kind that the adoptive parents had talked about at all our visits.

Convinced, I decided that I had every single right to ask for a visit. What harm was there, I reasoned, in asking if they were up for a date at the park, or lunch? None, I told myself. My intentions were absolutely pure, and I was growing tired of this ridiculous scenario that has played out over the last year. Before I knew it, I felt my hands typing on my phone, drafting a letter. I read it once, twice, three times. And then I deleted it. The sickness I felt in my stomach was enveloping me. Could I just be having nerves, or was this a mistake?

Cautiously, I brought it up to both my best friend and my husband. “No holding back, I don’t need to be coddled. Tell me the brutal truth,” I requested.

“I know you. I know why you want this, and I know you mean no harm. I get it, Danielle. But, they don’t. Maybe they wouldn’t, but my guess is that they would twist it to make it look like they had to protect him from you, like you are a crazy woman. They could easily fill the gaps that they are creating with stories about how they feared for his safety because of your attempts at contact.”

Noted.

“It could work out, and maybe they are now at a point where they are willing to branch into a different place. Remember when we thought they were when I asked for more openness for you? I just don’t think they’ll ever change. I think they like where they are, and aren’t really thinking about anyone but themselves. History is a good indicator of future behavior- you say that all the time. If they respond negatively, which is likely, you’ll wind up devastated. If you already know the answer, it’s not worth the emotional toll this would take on you.”

Doubly noted.

I sometimes forget, because time is funny like that, the circumstances I’m dealing with. I forget the harsh words, and the broken promises, and the hours I’ve spent crying over this adoption. I forget it all, because for a fraction of a second, I see the good that could come from being more open.All of the possibilities rush through my brain, acting as amnesia.

The letter didn’t get sent. It won’t be sent. Until there is an avenue for me to directly give that request to my son, rather than through his adoptive parents, I won’t ask. When the adoption closed, I was quite clear that I wanted future contact to be from him, and only him (something that was ignored when they sent me a picture, one I assume he didn’t know was sent to me). This relationship, the one he’ll choose or not choose to have with me, is his decision. Right now, it appears as though the decision is being heavily weighed upon what his adoptive parents want, or think is best.

As he ages, this policing that’s happening will not be so easily executed.  Eventually, with or without them, he’ll make his own choices regarding this adoption. When he does all of these words on this blog will serve as a record of the wanting I’ve had for him. One day, they won’t have a say. One day they won’t be able to narrate for both of us. I so look forward to that day:

The day when his adoption story can finally be narrated, and guided by him.

I can wait for that day. I will wait for that day.

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7 thoughts on “To “One Day”

  1. Danielle: Thank you for sharing how you worked through this particular conflict and turmoil. I so admire your thoughtfulness and strength. My “one day” – at least my conception of when it might be – came and went last year, and I’ve been struggling to conjure up hope. You’ve reminded me that my “one day” will still come. And when it does, it will be entirely her choice. I am at last free of the barriers her parents put up and the intolerable years of being discarded and made helpless when everything in me cried for contact.

  2. I’m an adoptee, and from way back in ’66 when no one had even thought of “open adoption.” My mom told me I was adopted when I was 8 (same conversation as “where do babies come from.”) Ever since then, SHE expressed interest in knowing my birth parents. Fast forward to me as an adult, and I have reunited with them. Don’t give up hope. My mom wasn’t especially enlightened or anything. Your kid’s adoptive parents could be preparing him right now.

  3. I’m a birth mother from the BSE. Several years before I actually searched for and found my son, my husband and I were visiting the town where he was born with the intention of trying to find his birth records. This was in New York and I didn’t then know how impossible that would have been. I got so close, but when it came right down to it I couldn’t see it through. I was afraid, yes, and I felt like the girl I’d been when I relinquished him: wrong-footed and helpless. What would the clerk of court think? How could I tell a librarian what I was looking for? It was all too overwhelming. Thankfully I did eventually find my son, and here’s what I think about your situation, for what it’s worth. Be sure your son always has access to your contact information. If he’s under 18, I think you should hold off. Imagine how it must feel to be adopted, trying to fit in with a strange family (yes, forever strange), relying on the coping mechanisms you’ve spent your entire life perfecting. My son was 44 when I found him. He’d wanted me all his life, just as I’d wanted him, but I honestly think our reunion would have been more difficult had he not been an adult. Reunion is huge for both birth mother and adoptee. We moms are always ready for contact, but I’d tread very carefully with a minor. A difficult reunion with a 10 or 15 year old might spoil your chances for a much better reunion later on. Once your child is over 18, I think you should follow your heart and gut. Any way you look at this, it isn’t ever going to be easy. That day will come, and when it does, you will be transformed.

    1. I’m ready for him to do it when he’s ready. If that means tomorrow, great. If that means years down the road, that’s great too. As much as my story is intertwined with his, I really feel strongly that he has to write his own part of it. I can write my experiences, and give him the chance to see what it was like from my perspective, but I want him to feel that he has the power in all of this. Something I’m not sure he has right now.

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