Back - with a caveat

I've missed writing too much to stay away much longer. I'm back.

I can't say I've done much soul-searching over the past couple of weeks, because I've been too busy with work. But I think I've figured out why I was ready to throw in the towel, and the way I deal with this in the future is the one caveat I have to set for continuing to write.

It just plain hurts to feel like the enemy all the time. I recognize that for those who are struggling with the pain of adoption, adoptive parents ARE one of the causes of that pain, perhaps the main cause. I accept that. But as one who personalizes everything (oh, if I had a buck for every time Third Dad has said "Don't take it personally" to me!), the hostility goes straight to my heart. And it hurts.

So somehow I need to find a way to acknowledge, accept and act upon the injustices of adoption without internalizing to the degree I have. I don't know that I've quite figured out how to do this, but that's the caveat. The self-imposed target simply has to come off my back.

Nothing else changes - neither my belief that adoption law and practice are inherently flawed, nor that they are in need of overhaul, nor that adoptive parents are accountable for acknowledging this. I'm not sure what this means for my writing, but we'll see.

* * * * *

Now, to get the ball rolling again:

Greetings to everyone I haven't been able to visit these past couple of weeks!!

Any ideas for things I could write about? What have I missed that's important to you all? I see that when you stop writing, the machinery kind of grinds to a halt. I need a few ideas to get it moving again!


I don't have a single answer for this. I wish I could come here and say something deep that would take the hurt away, but I don't have anything other than maybe the self-imposed target is a form of empathy, which isn't always a bad thing? I don't know if that makes sense or not.

My own blended family dynamic is extremely non-traditional and could be an entire blog unto itself. I'm both a custodial stepmom to another mother's 17 year old, and the noncustodial mom of a 17 year old who wants to live with my sister to be closer to his girlfriend. My own self-imposed back target is not only dayglow neon, but it glows in the dark too.

Now that's a totally different situation than yours, but I guess maybe what I'm saying is there is a whole lot of stories out there, and yours is important. At least to me it is. And I have a feeling it is to a lot of other people too.
Dawn said…
I struggle with this, too, and am glad you're back because sometimes I feel like ... well, sometimes I don't feel connected to other adoptive parents on this particular issue and it's good to have you around.
I am so glad you are going to keep blogging! I think I'd love to hear more about what you remember about stages your kids went through, as long as they don't mind you sharing. For those of us with small children and so much ahead, it would just help knowing what may come up. Of course your kids probably didn't go through what other kids will... but I am sure there are helpful things you have learned. I am just seeing Buddy start to be aware of what his struggles are and I am wondering how to navigate...

I started a personal blog to separate my parenting writing from my professional librarian writing. It's at Stop by anytime!
Alison said…
I'm glad you're back too. I'm a new adoptive mother seeking out a community of other APs willing to discuss the whole adoption experience honestly, and I've appreciated your perspective and your courage in entering a discussion where APs risk being perceived as the enemy, as you say.

I too have tried out that self-imposed target, and it causes problems for me when I try to take responsibility for things that are not mine: pain, injustice, and loss that I didn't personally cause and can't heal. I don't think that kind of guilt, or making oneself into the enemy, is helpful in the end, especially if it leads to silencing oneself or burning out and withdrawing from the discussion.

I am learning how to engage with adoption issues in a way that feels healthy for me: empathetic and informed, but not depressed, guilt-ridden, or defensive.

I'd love to see you write about how you have engaged with your children's birth culture. I've seen that both extremes are problematic (either ignoring the birth culture, or co-opting it) and I'm wondering how to find middle ground there.
Mom2One said…
I know what you mean, Margie. I really try to separate what's being said from what my husband and I have done in our adoption -- and we're not perfect, by any means, but I have actually said the words "adoptive parents are not the enemy." Because I think that overall adoptive parents aren't -- although I suppose that has to be qualified too, to include aware adoptive parents because I do see ones that lack awareness out there, probably too many. I think I'm probably somewhat sheltered and seek out and find like-minded parents.

I don't know what the answer is, Margie, but it's a tough one. But I know that I'm glad you're back and I'm sure I'm only one of many. You're an important voice here.

Welcome back! *HUGSHUGSHUGS*
abebech said…
I'm so glad you're back, too. You've made it possible for me to think and say some of the things I've needed to think and say. I'm really thankful for that. And like Dawn, I feel connected to you on this/these issues.
suz said…
we have spoken privately on this. i agree. i understand. been there, done that. i can understand conflict of internalizing too. a large part of what makes you who you are is the fact that you do that, that you feel it, that you care...but that exposure, that internalization is what can also cause the pain when you get zapped by others. i dont have any answers expect to say believe in yourself and the power of your voice and heart. others do. as for the turkeys? ignore them. said…
You are not the enemy. You are the example for others to follow.

I am so glad you exist, so very glad.
Julia said…
Adoption will always be. It always has and always will be. It will always be painful and a loss and a gain. While there is much room for improvements in the current "system" of adoption - even a perfect system in a perfect world will not take away the pain and loss. It won't make the gain feel any better - any less guilty. But you, my friend, are far from the responsible party just simply because you became a mother via adoption. You are simply a part of the small community that does not bury their head in the sand and pretend that there is no loss - that is all that you are a part of.

As I turned from infant to toddler, my mother experienced a similar 'reality check.' As she once explained it to me in a private session, she simply woke up one day and looked and me and thought "whose daughter is this? Whose face is that? Whose culture did I rob? And who am I kidding?" It haunted her and it drove her crazy (not in the medical sense!). She became obsessed about helping me to recover what she felt she stole from me - helping to give back what she felt she stole from my first mother. She went one a search - only to find the trail was dead. During her search for me, she got comfort in the sense that she was "repairing" the damage that adoption had done (that she felt she had done). At the time of her findings I was about 10 years old and I can remember our relationship changing around that time. What she describes as her "reality check" - I describe as the start of my second loss, because she simply started then to step away from it all. The loss and the pain was too much to deal with and all she could figure to do was to not deal with it at all. Last year, soon after my 23rd birthday, I was diagnosed with leukemia. For my mother, this diagnosis was the final push. And now I miss the mother I had from age 8 months to 23 years, although I do not blame her for this second loss as I know it is all beyond her.

I'm glad you are not stepping away, because stepping away is only creating another loss. The first one was not created by you - it was created by adoption. Just because you feel the gain from adoption does not mean you are responsible for the loss from adoption.
joy said…
Schrandt-O-Rama said…
Thank goodness you are back Margie!

I always look forward to reading what you have to say, and I am always excited to see so many people from various places in the adoption community coming here to read & dialog as well.
elizabeth said…
I'm glad you are back. You are not the enemy.
karen m said…
I'm glad you're back! Adoption isn't going away soon, and that's why it's important to hear from every side - birth/first parents, adoptees and adoptive parents. *hugs*
Being Me said…
Oh Margie,

I was sure you'd be back. And I am so happy to find you again today, with all the supportive messages. I am often tested by taking things personally too. For me it's a reminder to go back inside, breathe and check what's real and true inside me. It can take a while.

Your voice, your writing is so uplifting and touches to many people. It's something I am grateful for.
Gwen said…
Hi Margie,

I missed you! I'm glad you are back!
ryan said…
So glad you're back, Margie!

And Julie, the comment that you left was beautiful.
Rebecca said…
Margie, I'm sorry that anyone has treated you like the enemy. I am so grateful for you. For being an adoptive parent who is interested in doing the very best you can for your children. Too many people generalize and lump folks together (not that you need me to tell you that) and don't take the time to see people as individuals with their own story. It's not right to judge people. The person who should feel bad is the butthead who made you feel bad. I think you're grand! Hugs, Rebecca
Margie said…
Thanks, guys, for your thoughts and ideas. I'm still struggling with work, and it has been intense, but I see a little light at the end of the tunnel and hope to be writing again soon. I do miss it, and realize too that by starting to blog I've made a commitment that I need to take seriously. Yes, I need to manage the time, but the commitment to the adoption community is real and I need to respect it.

I had hoped to read and write all last weekend, but instead cleaned bathrooms, caught up on bills and did income taxes. Hopefully this will be my laid back weekend!!
Mama Nabi said…
Ha ha, I didn't think you'd stay away for TOO LONG... you have too much to share! I'm glad to see you writing again.
Paula O. said…
(((Margie))) I've been thinking about you a lot. Looking forward to having the privilege of learning from you.
Paula O. said…
Brain. Not. Functioning.

Should have read "the privilege to continue learning from you." I've learned so much from your voice - I count it amongst my many blessings.

Hugs to you, Margie!
Brandi said…
People like you and Dawn speak for those of us who lack the ability to clearly convey our feelings on these issues. I am glad you are back :)

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