It occurs to me that not only adoptees (who have a multitude of reasons) but probably most people has some issue with their parents that they would be better off forgiving. I know as much as I loved and valued my two parents (both adoptees) some of the discussion points in the graphic above would apply. One of my Facebook friends shared this and I immediately recognized it as relevant to the adoption related issues I cover in this blog and to my own experience of being parented.
My own parents most likely had unresolved trauma – whether they were aware of it or not. My mom seems to have been somewhat aware of her own adoption related trauma. My dad seemed to block it out of his consciousness and believed he probably didn’t want to know the truth about how he ended up adopted (he referred to my mom’s search as potentially “opening up a can of worms” – fisherman that he was).
When my mom married my dad, she didn’t know how to cook or keep a house clean. Her adoptive mother just didn’t have the patience to teach her. Therefore, she was determined to teach her daughters the skills that my dad taught her and that she refined over many years. We had chores to contribute to keeping the house clean, including sometimes washing the dishes and sometimes cooking the dinner. She also worked full time outside of the house and so was tired at night.
My mom was a very warm and loving person but her mother was a bit distanced, as indicated by my mom having to call her “mother.” I was born on my maternal adoptive grandparents wedding anniversary which helped to soothe whatever upset my mom conceiving me out of wedlock while still a high school student may have caused them as my were socially active as a banker and his wife. My dad could really trigger me and his anger was frightening, even though he never laid a hand on us. He was outgoing and sociable. Turns out his genetic father was too.
Certainly, my parents did the best they could with what they knew and the limited resources they had. My dad’s adoptive parents were poor and so we always had this extreme contrast with the wealth of my mom’s adoptive parents. My dad’s were very influential in my life, even into my adulthood. The cultural norms when my parents were adopted in the 1930s were sealed records, name and birth certificate changes and presenting one’s adopted kids as if born to the adoptive parents. To my adoptive grandparents credit, both of my parents always knew they were adopted but not much beyond that. The deaths of my adoptive grandparents revealed only some names but those gave me my start in reconnecting the broken threads of our cultural/genetic origins.
To my understanding, any parent who manages to get their children to adulthood relatively “intact” physically, mentally and emotionally has fulfilled their duty as a parent. Anything extra is grace and/or luck.