Not The Same

Raising adoptees is not the same as raising biological kids. An adoptees reactions are not the same. Their emotions are not the same. Their needs are not the same. They SEE and FEEL things differently. They process interactions with others differently and often in a way that is negative towards their own selves. Adoptive parents NEED to know this and recognize this.

You need to weigh your words and actions before you do them and think about what you are saying and talk through in your own head how your words and actions might be received by the adoptee in your life….and adjust accordingly.

Just because your child seems happy and outgoing or in control on the outside does not mean she/he isn’t struggling on the inside. Adoption creates trauma and from what I learned from many adoptee accounts is that trauma usually creates a person that struggles a lot with self esteem, fear of rejection and control. Those seem to be pretty consistent.

Here’s one first person account of how it feels –

My adoptive mom was running errands and so was late to pick me up from an after school activity. Everyone was gone and it was just the teacher and me. First I was super uncomfortable and embarrassed to be the only one still there. As each minute passed, I was petrified she was not coming. I had pretty instantly started writing this script in my head..”she’s not coming, the teacher is going to have to call the principal, what if something terrible happened to her, I am sure my dad will not let me stay with them, where would I go”….and in and on it went. It didn’t end when my adoptive mom finally showed up. Those feelings that invoked, turned into a week of crying, and others in my family thought there was no reason for my behavior. That is was just random crying at literally everything. It would come out of nowhere.

She ends her sharing with this appeal –

Don’t let your kids be me. I don’t wish that on anyone. The emotional toll is immense. It changed my life in ways I wish it didn’t. Learn all you can about the trauma response and help meet them where they need you to be, not where they tell you or where you or anyone else thinks they should be. If you are listening, you will eventually get it and your actions and reactions with your child will come naturally to you in beneficial and supportive ways.

Married Men !!

A woman asked for advice regarding this situation –

Advice needed for revealing an unplanned pregnancy with a married man at the worst time in your life, and facing judgment and disappointment from others. Is it better to get it over with or hide as long as possible? I know it was wrong, and I deserve the judgment thrown my way.

The good news is that this woman is determined to parent her child.

I responded with this –

I would never say you “deserve” any ill effects. I do not know the entire story. My parents were both adopted. My dad’s mother was unwed. She had an affair with a much older man who was an immigrant, not yet naturalized though he did become a citizen later on. I doubt she knew he was married when she first started seeing him. In my younger days the same situation (though not a pregnancy) happened to me. His disloyalty to his marriage was entirely 100% his issue as far as I am concerned in EVERY case of this.

I do NOT recommend my self-sufficient grandmother’s solution to you. She went to a Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers. She never told my dad’s father. I do share this with you because since I discovered who that man was (something I never thought was going to be possible since he was un-named but my wonderful grandmother left me breadcrumbs in her photo album which a cousin I discovered happily shared with me) – my dad was so very much like him – in appearance and interests. What good friends they might have been. It is a sadness for my own self that they never had the chance.

I wish you good resolutions. My heart’s mind will hold you gently for the best outcome. HUGS !!

Another person responded – People are going to judge no matter what. So do whatever gives you less stress and more peace.  I would encourage you to tell him so you at least figure out where he’s at and don’t have to guess or wonder.

Someone else added – The father should know about his child, but I don’t see why anybody else has to know who the father is.

And another reminded her – He deserves to know. But you have the ultimate decision. Don’t let him talk you out of keeping the baby or into adoption. He can chose not to parent the child.

Someone else added – I would recommend disclosing it to those who need to know (in this case, the father). The fear of all the possible reactions can be debilitating. Better to just be upfront and tell him. It isn’t really other people’s business to know who the father is unless you wish to disclose it. I don’t see why you need to volunteer his marital status to your friends and family. Your child has a right to know who his/her father is. Acquaintances do not.

My favorite was what this woman shared – This is me! I told my baby daddy. I have a wonderful 16 year old whose father decided he would be involved about 7 years ago. I have been open and honest about his beginnings and have no shame. People will think what they will and I can’t control that. My son is an honor student, lettered in lacrosse in 9th grade and plays high school hockey. I’m bursting with pride about this kid! Have your baby and celebrate your child loud and proud!

Mother Loss

I don’t know why but my mother is on my mind this morning.

No matter who you have in your life (father, siblings, husband, children) when your mother dies, bottom line is you don’t have her any more.

I understand – my mom was like “If I have to live like this, I just want to die.”  And I really don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live like this.  In my own decline, I have felt similarly.  My mom said to my husband before she died “don’t get old, it’s horrible”.

It was a Sunday morning when my mom died.  I got a phone call from my youngest sister – “Your mother has died.  We need you to come and do your work.”

Later as I transferred from one flight to another around dinner time in Chicago the details were served to me which left me unsettled all the way to New Mexico.

She died in her bathtub.  She was found, face down in the water, by my dad the next morning.  He tried but couldn’t lift her out.  My youngest sister had to clean up the mess left behind.

From the official responders – neither my sister nor my dad handled it well.

I remember thinking, why the bathtub, why not her bed ? Then I thought actually it was my mother’s last thoughtful act – to die in a place easily clean-able.

The cause of death influences how the family reacts, what type of support system is available and what kind of stressors the children have experienced before the actual loss.  My dad was like woulda – coulda – shoulda, until the autopsy came back that it was sudden and complete and he couldn’t have saved her.  She had a massive heart attack.

It is interesting and a commentary on modern life – of 149 motherless
women surveyed – 44% died of cancer, 10% of heart failure, 10% in accidents and 7 percent by suicide.  A small percentage, 3% by pneumonia, infectious diseases, complications of childbirth, abortion or miscarriage, kidney failure and cerebral hemorrhage – and the remainder due to alcoholism, overdose, aneurysm, stroke or complications of surgery.

It really matters not how it comes.  Every cause of death is a different kind of hell. Every cause is painful, every loss leaves us wondering how we might have prevented it.

I miss my mom.