When I started this adoption journey things were really, really different in my life. I was coming off of an “OMG, I’m not going to die” high after contending with a serious medical issue. I was still working on my doctoral coursework. I had gotten a new boss who I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be productive with. I had been thinking about adoption for years, but I didn’t really talk about it much to people other than to say, “One day I plan to adopt.”
Then one day came and I started moving on my plan.
It appeared to come out of the blue for a lot of people around me. Despite my transparency in this space it wasn’t something I had talked about a lot. Many people just assumed it was an ill-conceived, knee jerk reaction to some of the upheaval in my life and not a strategic move on a long simmering plan. There were times when I got really uncomfortable questions—I still do—about why I chose to adopt and how I planned for it all to work out.
My very first post on the blog and the About ABM page gets into some of the reasons why. As for the how, well, how do other would-be parents plan for it all to work out? They don’t plan, they just do, alongside a huge dose of faith, and take steps for it to work out, somehow, someway. You just do it.
When I started the blog last summer I thought the journey, and the story of the journey, would be different. I knew it would have challenges and be challenging. I thought I would write about the things I write about, maybe some other things, but I did think it would be different than the story it has evolved into. On some naïve level I thought it would look like this:
Um, but with Black people and probably no singing. There would be kids and family and all the stuff this image evokes. Ok, not really running in a field on the side of a mountain either, but you get my drift.
But this journey really has me feeling like this:
Like somehow I am ready to do something kind of cool (faking it), but fall completely flat on my face, over and over and over again. I suffer from imposter syndrome something terrible. I try to write about what I’m experiencing and what I’m learning on this journey doing something I’ve never done before and I’m not sure I will do again (I am pretty sure I’m a part of the one and done crowd).
The range of emotions and reactions to things have covered more emotional territory than I knew existed. There have been incredible highs and lows that were ridiculously dangerous for me and some of the people around me. There have been disappointments, so many…long before the blog and up until this very day. There have been joys celebrated with others and joys celebrated alone.
This space is supposed to be about all of that. But it was supposed to be different. Somewhere along the way fear and disappointments surrounding my adoption journey crushed me. It’s been devastating at times. I’m not sure when it happened; I’m not even sure how. Sometimes on this journey, the hits just keep coming and it hard to keep track of what’s really happening. But I wrote about it. I wrote about the disappointment, sadness and grief in great detail. I wrote about what I learned from it, some of those lessons were better than others. I poured a lot of it out on this blog, in part because I felt so isolated and because I wasn’t getting the type of support I thought I would or should get from people close to me. On some level it made me really, really angry and bitter. Grief is really a beotch, but so is pride. I focused most of my angst on one person, for lots of reasons—most of which don’t hold up under close scrutiny—that seem absurd in the light of day. There is no excuse other than desperately poor judgment entangled with stress and depression. All of that turned this space into something different than what was intended. The space turned into my own slam book of all the little and big perceived slights and abuses on my journey. And adoption journeys are full of tender feelings, fear of failure and judgment and all around messiness, so that leads to lots of writing inspiration.
In recent months, my blog became a place for a poison pen and a public airing of all my mom’s perceived shortcomings. And well, that’s unforgiveable because she’s really a wonderful human being and a fantastic mom; moreover it’s been a recipe for only exacerbating the damage that’s already been done. She’s long told me that hurt people, hurt people. quite true. The slams shouldn’t have happened; they shouldn’t have happened repeatedly, and I regret it. I can’t say I’m over all of the drama (hardly), and I will not apologize for what I felt and even continue to feel (still painfully raw), but I regret that I shaped a public image of my mom that is woefully incomplete, and I regret that I did that in this space or even at all.
My mother is an amazing woman. She is loving and caring and generous. I know the she loves me deeply. She’s been a wonderful mom, and while I have to parent Hope differently, she has created a wonderful template. Whatever I think she’s done; I know in my heart came/comes from a good, pure place. She’s hardly out to get me. I also realize that these sentences do her no justice compared to all the things I’ve written before, but trust me, she is such a lovely soul and you would be lucky to know her and blessed to be related to her. I owe her a lifetime of apologies for being a petulant kid and a colossal ass.
So with that, I am adding another promise to not talk about my family on this blog anymore; certainly not in the way that I have up until today. I’ll still talk about this journey, honestly and transparently, and other things of interest and relevance. But it’s time to put my big girl drawers on and own up to my own ish, practice discretion and attempt to navigate some challenging terrain privately.
To those closest to me, I’m sorry.
April 13th, 2014 at 12:13 pm
This whole being transparent thing coupled with protecting privacy and all you just mentioned is a very fine beam to balance on. I commend you for this post. I’m glad to hear you’ll still be around, though. And I’m sure that your wonderful mother is a very lovely and kind woman who has done a great job showing you a lot of what motherhood is all about. I get the frustration though. I feel very similar to you about my own mom in many ways. Love her, admire what she has done and who she is, but get frustrated when she doesn’t “get it” about how I choose/need to raise her grandchildren (who also happen to be MY children, which it seems sometimes slips her mind!). I think you have made a good choice, though. Some things are best expressed only inside our own heads or to very trusted friends who won’t hold it against her! Have a wonderful day! (And just for the record, I won’t hold it against her either.)
April 13th, 2014 at 4:46 pm
Great for you ABM! Living and learning. So much unexpected stuff is indeed built into the process. Got to love it! 😉
April 13th, 2014 at 4:56 pm
I hear you. When I wrote that post about my mother. .it was SO hard. I have another post about the silent sacrifices of being a child to parents who’ve adopted 6 children AND are still fostering. I get so fearful to air it and the possibility of it getting back to my mother. *sigh* I feel you. I’m happy you’re not leaving ♡
April 13th, 2014 at 7:49 pm
Nobody makes it out alive, so don’t take life too seriously. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Individuals who see humor in things and laugh regularly have healthier hearts and live longer. There are many situations in life that are stressful and depressing that give us headaches. Adoption is a situation that often affects individuals in egregiously bad ways but when things out of our control go wrong we need to relax and not always go into crisis mode. Humor is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Poke a little fun at yourself. After all, if you fail miserably at something with an epic flair, you’ll have humiliating humorous stories to tell about yourself for posterity. http://judithland.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/yuck-it-up-laughter-is-cheap-medicine/
April 14th, 2014 at 10:33 pm
I read this yesterday and had to walk away before commenting. The fierce honesty of this was overwhelming but I felt your every word. I don’t talk about my relationship with my mother much, but I definitely could relate to your story. From my perspective, it seemed that you presented your mother fairly objectively, but perhaps I read the love that was between each of the lines. There could never be so much pain if there wasn’t love there for the pain to reverberate against. And for those of us who have been through similar situations with our parents – parents who didn’t understand or support our choices, whose words cut us deeply and caused us to question our abilities and whose lack of communication looked suspiciously like rooting for our failure, we related. And we prayed for you and your mother, because it was like praying for ourselves.