Adoption Analogy

Yes, I’m on blog break, but if I don’t get this on paper it’ll be gone forever.

First, thank you all - and you know who you are – for your support and laughs last night. Boy that felt good, and you'll never ever know how much you brightened my very dark mood! Thank you.

I told some of you via email yesterday that one of the issues contributing to my need for a breather is work. It’s not a pleasant time in my work world at the moment, and to be completely candid, I’m not dealing with it very well. I work in a very corporate environment, although I’m not a particularly corporate kind of person. Until now I've been able to reconcile myself with this, and have found places where I fit. But not now.

It occurred to me yesterday that I may be getting a tiny taste of what an adoptee must experience living with the pain of adoption. Please, understand, I DON’T mean what I’m feeling is in ANY WAY the same in its intensity, or its importance in the scheme of life, or its permanence as that experienced by adoptees. But I see a parallel in the structure of my situation and that of living as an adoptee. And I think it's helping me understand the adoptee experience better - not completely, because I never can, but better.

Here’s what I mean. I work because I have to. There is no choice. My husband doesn’t work - when our son arrived, we made the decision that I would continue, because my job had better benefits and was more stable. So I continued working and Third Dad stayed home with The Boy, and then The Girl. And all in all it's been a good choice, especially for the kids.

Because I am who I am, a highly emotional individual, I’ve tried very hard to make sure that the jobs I take allow me the best change of controlling the stressors. I took the position I currently have, originally sort of a consultant-analyst position, because I don’t want to manage people and I don’t want to travel much. Been there, done that, and just don't want to do them again right now.

But recently my group was downsized, and I now manage three unrelated teams up and down the east coast, while still doing my original job and a couple of special projects. It's exhausting. But because my job was “saved,” no one understands why I’m not grateful. After all, how could I criticize the hand that's feeding me? And with two kids on the verge of college, leaving isn't an option, especially at my age and so close to capturing retirement benefits.

So here’s what I’m feeling:

  • I didn’t ask for the job I have now, and I’m not grateful for the fact that my job was saved.
  • Even though on the surface my job might seem like a good one to someone else, I hate having to live with it.
  • I hate that it separates me from what living a normal life.
  • I feel trapped.

But all of this isn't the point - the analogy I see to adoption pain is. For if the analogy is accurate, it's helping me to see adoption pain from an adoptee's point of view more clearly:

  • How offensive it must be when others tell you to be grateful for your life when you didn’t ask to be dealt the adoption deck
  • How hard it must be to live with adoption looking over your shoulder all the time
  • How you must hate that it separates you from just plain living your life
  • What an emotional trap the pain and loss must create
I would hate it, too. Although I can never feel that pain, what I've been experiencing recently has at least given me an inkling. And if I feel as overwhelmed as I do over something that I could really change if I tried, how much more overwhelming it must be to live with adoption loss.

To the adoptees who may read this, please let me know if I’m on base, off base, or at least in the ballpark.

Comments

Lori said…
I hate to hear that you're having to go through this right now. There's so much that kind of has to be borne, like it or not...but that certainly doesn't make it easier.

Just take care of yourself and know that we'll be waiting when/if you're ready to write some more!
Gwen said…
I'm sorry you are going through a rough period. I understand the need for a break but please know that you are missed.
Kathy said…
So sorry that you are going through
this.
Harlow's Monkey wrote a post about
ambiguous loss recently. I think as
an adoptive parent I really do struggle to understand that loss,
but I know I can't remedy that loss.

Ever.

I think first mothers and
adoptees forever struggle with
the unknowns and the ghosts and
all the "what ifs" that we as
adoptive parents can only try to
imagine.
I do the same thing as you. I try
to imagine or make comparisons in
my own life to help me understand
and it does give a glimpse and
I think it's a useful tool.
Thanks for sharing so much about
yourself.
elizabeth said…
I think the analogy is a good one and you expressed it very well.

I understand the pressures of work stress, ugh. For one thing there is NEVER enough time! by Friday I'm ready to collapse into bed.

Hang in there.
Possum said…
I also think the analogy is a very good one.
Hope things at work get better for you soon.
Hugs, C.
MomEtc. said…
Margie, I'm sorry to read about how you are struggling and I'm glad you came here to share.

Like you, I fully acknowledge that adoptees have incredible pain to deal with relating to their adoptions.....something they didn't ask for and have no control over. Like you I try my best to comprehend that pain. I know I can never fully step into their shoes and I know I cannot erase that pain.

The point I have reached now is that I accept what the situation is and see my role as one of trying to guide my children as best I can and to help them get the resources they need to get through any issues they will face in life. It's just not productive for me, and in fact it only gets me down and makes me less functional as a parent, to become emotionally overwhelmed by the situation. I know it's hard because I'm incredibly emotional myself, but I try to take that "step back". And, I know that it hurts that adoptees and first parents don't have the luxury of taking that "step back", but I try to view it as a way to keep my sanity, both for my sake, my husband's sake and the kids' sake.

I'm so glad you shared your struggles with us. I hope you find some support here and keep posting with us all. Your voice is a very valuable one.
Paula O. said…
Margie,

As always, your compassion, wisdom and eloquence continues to both inspire and enlighten me about so many things.

I know you know how strongly I feel about your voice being wanted and needed in our community. :) I'm thinking of you and hoping that this respite from full-time blogging has helped provide some clarity into what you are feeling called to do.

Big hugs to you (((Margie)))
art-sweet said…
Margie -

Insightful as always. I thank you and hope to keep hearing your voice.

And I'm sorry about the sucky work situation.
Susan said…
I am going to miss you SO much. I really have valued and treasured your posts so much. And I am very very sorry about work troubles. Take good care.
Margie said…
Hey, everyone, thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts!!
Tina said…
Not only are you on base, you are on HOME base. You always write things in just the right way for me.
Mom2One said…
*hugs* to you, Margie. So sorry about the work struggles. It's a shame that work so often has to impede on our general happiness and well-being.
Ummm.. I think we may work for the same company!

Honestly I understand the blog breaks, especially with the work situation. Just please don't make the mistake I did years ago of having a website that people liked turn into a ghost site. I miss it when you're not writing. Not to lay a guilt trip on you or anything ;)

And I don't think you're off base at all. That idea of being in a situation you didn't ask for, and then being expected to feel GRATEFUL for it? Hellooo?

I'm in the same boat at work. With a blended family of five kids (3 in college, nevertheless!), not working is not an option for me. And I'm on the road approximately 12 nights of each month. I've been told to expect a 1-3 month trip to India sometime in the future. Yeah, sure, Namaste' and all that but who is gonna do my laundry in the interim!!?? But smile and be grateful, 'cause I still have a job! Yikes.

I'm sorry work is so stressful. I don't have any answers to that... just a nod from someone in the exact same boat.
I like the analogy. It helps me remember what it might feel like for my boys. I am glad you are still going to blog some cause I miss you when you don't!

Sorry about the job not being what you really want. But you never know, things might change and you might find something much better starts to happen. It has for me several times...
Margie said…
All you guys definitely make me feel better - thank you!!
kim.kim said…
You always ask the questions and try to see what it's like for other people.
I feel permanently clueless about what it must be like to be adopted, Michelle told me it's like waking up with amnesia and nobody will tell you who you are.

I think being told to be grateful about experience a loss is very insulting, I have been told that and it's ridiculous really.

Don't stay away just work a bit less harder, learn to be a bludger.....
Etude said…
The analogy does seem to fit..I've never really thought about it in those terms and to see it all nice and concise was difficult..brought back alot of emotions.

Take care of yourself.
Melissa said…
Sorry to hear about the tough job situation. I've sure been missing your regular posts. But you have to do what you have to do. Take care of yourself.
Hugs,
Melissa
zoe said…
Margie - I don't know what to say that would be comforting to you right now but you are definitely in my thoughts. I do appreciate your ability to be so compassionate and sympathetic even in the face of personal struggles. I realize this may sound trite, but please do whatever you can to take care of yourself and let others care for you, too, right now.
cuba1004 said…
Hi, I also like the connection you made between work and adoption. If only life could be so simple! :p But that's our journey. I emailed you because I like what you wrote (I hope it didn't go into spam or junk). I wish you well.
Being Me said…
I'm so glad to still see you commenting on some others blogs. Your voice is very valuable to me. Best wishes with the job and finding your way through it.
Mom22 said…
I think what i will miss is not only your insights but the insights of others. Today I read from mometc. "The point I have reached now is that I accept what the situation is and see my role as one of trying to guide my children as best I can and to help them get the resources they need to get through any issues they will face in life."
I have often said I am just the driver on my daughters bus but they are giving the directions- maybe it should be guide...
anyway BEST LUCK. Come back to your blog soon!
Yeah So said…
Hey Margie - Good to find you. Very interesting analogies you draw between adoption and work, hadn't really thought of it before. I've definitely been where you are and it's no fun. Especially when you're the breadwinner. We have alot in common.
Margie said…
Starfish, thanks. I'm glad I stumbled on your blog, too, and look forward to catching up on it.
Rebecca said…
Oh Margie, I wish that you didn't have pain that allowed you to understand us so well. You get it. I can't imagine that someone with your empathy and compassion would offend with this post. Big hugs, Rebecca

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