The sign…

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Now and then, a writing prompt jumps off my screen and starts pushing my buttons for a response.  Possibly, that’s in line with my zodiac sign, even a personality flaw which pushes my need to elaborate beyond all reasonable boundaries.  Ah, yes, that’s a Virgo, feet planted firmly in some ideal that our immediate world has for us and the intense pressure on how we feel we should view ourselves.  My goal always tends to be perfect in all I do and boy, do I get frustrated when that isn’t possible.  I’d venture a guess that, for most of us, these life goals are essentially every damn thing you want to accomplish in life before passing on, the important stuff others remember you by when you are no longer around.  And, goals give you purpose and direction in guiding your life.

 

It’s said that Virgos have one of the best memories of all zodiac signs.  That…is a biggie, at least for me, having a mother who suffered with Alzheimer’s disease.  The fear of basically losing my mind to the warfare of dementia may be a guiding factor of my birth sign, a daily quest in not forgetting everything and everyone important in my life.  Often, at work, someone will make a snarky criticism on something they felt I should have remembered and pushes that above mentioned button.  Most of my positive personality traits immediately turn negative and I launch into an overly-analytical response in defense.  Any criticism brings forth frustration and my very short temper.  And, yes, I am an extreme nit-picker!  Don’t judge.

 

I do try to be supportive of the people in my life and will, at times, give all benefit of the doubt, always maintaining some critical reserve.  Just in case.  I can be very passive-aggressive if I’m not sure of someone rather than making it clear that I don’t care for them.   Do I go to an occasional extreme with attention to detail?  Hell, yes.  Way more than just occasional.  The thought of not doing something well, or under-performing, often stops me from doing that task at all, just to avoid being challenged…or corrected.  Sometimes, being needed too often causes me to not have enough time and I’m like the White Rabbit, running from here to there saying “Oh dear!  Oh dear! I shall be too late!”  Under all this zodiac madness is the drive to stay busy, focused and give everything I do great attention to detail and perfection. 

workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop…What does your birth sign say about you? Is it correct?  All in all, I’d say my birth sign is pretty much on-target.  I enjoy being somewhat of a master planner with attention to detail and pretty much have a reputation for taking responsibility and picking up slack in certain situations.  Mostly, I try to think of everything…because I’m so fearful of forgetting.

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I chose you…

Adoption reunions can be a positive experience for all involved or create negative emotional responses.  There is much to be acknowledged from both sides of this parental coin.  Rather than rejoicing when there is a healthy re connection, a wave of understandable jealousies and fear often finds both the adoptive mother and birth mother in opposite corners with the child caught in the middle. 

To adoptive mothers everywhere, from a first mother.  A blending of my thoughts, both gentle and perhaps with a touch of harshness, but totally genuine and from my heart. 

 

I chose you.

I did not place my child because he was “unwanted.” I wanted him so much that I continued a pregnancy filled with unanswered questions.

I chose adoption because I loved my child. This parental love allowed me to put his needs before my own when making my choice.

I longed for the day I could look into my child’s eyes and tell him I love him one more time.

I hoped you would teach respect to my child by showing respect for me in your discussions.

I wished I could be there to answer my child’s questions about adoption, but, in giving him to you, I trusted you to answer them truthfully as best you could.

I never stopped thinking about my child. He will always be a part of who I am.

I would never try to disrupt my child’s new family with you. I put too much emotion and suffering into making this choice to allow anything to disrupt it – including me.

In my eyes, you will always be my child’s mother. And that thought brings me happiness, as his first mother.

 

And, since I chose you, please remember that his birth parents gave him life. Without them, you wouldn’t have had a child to raise.

Accept your child’s desire in that reconnecting with me has nothing to do with you personally; it’s not a hit against your ability to mother. None of us can be everything to our kids, natural or adopted. I wish all adoptive parents would recognize that. You can never have too many people loving your child. In the end, letting the first parents and family in can only make your relationship with your child stronger.

I find it baffling and quite interesting that so many people try to dismiss the biological bond yet act this way toward natural parents and become so frantic and threatened when mother and child find one another and attempt to have some sort of “relationship”. It is very sad and disheartening when that attempted relationship is sabotaged because of that insecurity and possessiveness. For if not for the woman who lost, they would have never gained.

For some adoptive parents, they believe that love is enough, or should be enough. After all, DNA doesn’t trump all, right? So naturally, why can’t love be enough to overcome anything?

So then you think “Well I loved my hardest and best and it still wasn’t enough, so what was wrong with me? What more could my child possibly need? Why would my child possibly need anything other than the love and nurturing I have provided?”  This sets the stage for failure and ultimately, that will take place, through no fault of the adoptive family. It’s the fact that adoption is based on a semi-broken premise and that love wasn’t enough to even begin with.

Well, understand that, for relinquishing mothers, their love was not “enough” and will never be “enough.” NEVER. But for adoptive mothers? Their love conquers this insane world! Somehow, their love is so special and magical it can erase all ties to centuries of ancestry and wipe away their adopted child’s entire culture and people with absolutely no harm or detriment to that child. But a relinquishing mother? We just loved a baby enough to give it away to strangers. Nothing magical or special about that, as we are frequently reminded. Any broad can get herself pregnant and give a baby away, but it takes someone special to be a “real mom.”

At least that’s the dominant cultural rhetoric and belief.

How many relinquishing mothers have spent the rest of our lives doubting and questioning and wondering if we will ever be “enough.” How many of us relinquishing mothers have gone on to become over-achievers, attempting always to prove our worth to the world, that somehow, we are “enough.” How many of us struggle in our relationships with our parented children because self-doubt and fear lingers?   How many of us have fought tooth and nail to rid ourselves of the lies riveted on our hearts by the adoption industry and to reclaim the truth that our love is enough?

Adoption is always about the adoptive parents. It’s about their wants and needs, their perspective, their love. Why is adoption a good thing? Because adoptive parents are (supposedly) able to love a non-biologically related child as much as a bio-one of their own. Who cares that the natural mother probably didn’t want to give the child up in the first place? Who cares what the effect is on the child from being given up by his parents and given to strangers? All that matters is the adoptive parents and their love.

Not!

Most women don’t want to relinquish their children and do so thinking they are doing the best thing because they are young, unmarried and vulnerable. When most of us realize that it was not the best thing and we find our children, or they find us, the way we are treated often develops into a reaction that marginalizes us as uninvited intruders who have no rights and have the audacity to consider our birth child’s family as our own.   Really.

Think about this…think about how many of us have lived with years of agony, not knowing if our children are dead or alive.

The searching adoptee embarks on a journey that can be full of unknowns and worries. They do not know if they will find open arms, a door slammed in their faces, or even a grave.  Adoptees may have religions, worldviews, political ideas, cultural practices, and languages that differ from those of our original families.  They may fear that, even if a connection can be made, there will be too little in common to carry on a relationship. The fear of rejection is compounded by the reality that one’s adoptive parents may make emotional distance or an emotional cut off as the result of the reunion.

The truth is that, adopted children who search for their natural parents, have no reason for shifting their loyalties and feelings. They set out on the search because there is a deep-seated need for most of them to know as much as possible about their history, both racial, cultural, personal and genetic.

Be supportive. This is not a betrayal. This is a human being looking to complete the picture of his or her life.  An adoptive family is a part of that child’s being.  Every adoptee, regardless of the circumstances, has their own unique journey to follow. Searching, connecting and reuniting with biological relatives may not be all “unicorns and rainbows”, but there is absolutely NOTHING like the feeling you get from knowing about your origins…and that feeling of connection.

Sometimes, it seems like that happens naturally. Perhaps it is due to similar personality traits between biological family members. There is a natural tendency to view things the same way, to see relationships with a similar viewpoint, to meet new situations with a recognizable attitude.

In my own reunion with my birth son, almost five years after he first found me, I do chalk up much of our ease with everything due to an innate “sameness”. I mean, I knew him before I knew him. I naturally understood and “got” him because we approach things in a very similar way. He is willful, strong minded, rebellious, non-conformist, sarcastic, kind, and confident.  I knew all that from first seeing his Facebook page and smiled at our similarities on so many levels. I had no doubt then, before we ever spoke, or met, that genetics shaped who he was and I would recognize my own blood.

While a birth mother’s experience after placement may be different in open versus closed adoptions, the process leading to the choice of adoption is much more likely to follow the same thread – love. Regardless of our place on this planet, birth mothers share the journey of facing a decision in a pregnancy and letting our love for our child lead the way. The individual circumstances may be very different from culture to culture, but ultimately, we come to a place where we feel that what is best for our child is to have a life different than what we can provide so… we choose adoption.

“Children are never really ours; they are just entrusted to us for a time by God.”  As birth mothers, we take our short time with our child very seriously, and it affects us the rest of our lives. We place that final kiss on our baby’s forehead and pass them forward to your waiting arms because we know you will be taking it very seriously too.

And remember…I chose you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Christmas Cat…

The aftermath of one more sad goodbye…

Dale

Soft blankets and pillows on the couch where he would sit, basking in the morning sun.

Dishes still filled to the brim with his favorite food because, as all cat owners know, less than that amount brings forth a look of starvation.  And, the same for the water bowl which always had to have fresh, cool water.

Two litter boxes.  Well, this particular discerning feline, who allowed us to share his home, used each box separately, for different, well, um mm, things.

Cat toys, everywhere. Most missing whatever catnip fragrance they once held but each was still serviceable for an occasional tussle and tossing into the air.

Now…silence The absence of his spontaneous greeting every morning, each evening, or whenever you walked into a room where was lounging.  Hardly a positive song and the stillness is a painful discontent.

His name was “Dale”.  He came into our lives several years ago, around Christmas time. A rescue, found huddled behind some supermarket, emaciated and barely surviving.   A gentle soul, probably a pet who had gotten lost.  It was more likely that he had been dumped by someone who just didn’t want him anymore.  From that point, his history didn’t matter, he became part of our family and I always called him our Christmas Cat

He liked my husband better.  It didn’t matter that I cleaned his bathroom, kept his food needs in ample supply, he followed my spouse around like a dog.  Dale would listen by the windows for the sound of my hubby’s car and run to greet him at the door.  All this affection directed at a man who never really liked cats and grabbed a tissue to sneeze whenever he was around one.  It didn’t matter, not to Dale.

Two days ago, we had to make the sad decision of putting Dale to sleep after he threw a blood clot.  One minute, he had been running through our house as he did every morning, the next found him lying down with his back legs motionless.  Any choice of putting the cat through procedures with no promise of favorable results were out of the question.

Today, he was laid to rest in our little pet cemetery with great pomp & circumstance and many tears.  This, thanks to the man who didn’t like cats but was Dale’s best friend.

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