Something I wish I'd understood about adoption

I've been trying to catch up on about a month's worth of posts, which is pretty much impossible. In the process, I found a blog carnival at Grown in My Heart from a week ago Thursday that you should check out, although I think pretty much the entire adoption blogger community has already found it and posted. If you are with me in the .05% who haven't yet jumped in, go on over and then write your thoughts. Don't forget to link the carnival here, where you can also find links to the 50+ posts that have been added. All good stuff, I might add, every one has an insight we all should listen to.

The topic: What No One Told Me about Adoption.

I'm sure the reflective mood I'm in following The Girl's departure for college is the reason this topic is hitting so close to home. I haven't wanted to write about what I've been feeling; I said yesterday that I wanted to experience it privately, which is true. But private from whom? I've been resisting thinking and writing about that, because the answer bothers me.

I really haven't wanted to share my feelings because, for once in my parenting life, I wanted them to belong to me and my husband alone. In spite of everything I've written here about truth and transparency in adoption, I wanted The Girl all to myself.

I didn't spare a thought for her mother all weekend. I didn't think about the good-bye she was missing, or the hundreds of other hellos and good-byes she's missed throughout the years. The fact that she might have been wondering where The Girl would be going to school didn't cross my mind. I wanted this experience for me and me alone, and those feelings were powerful.

Adoption allows us to create our own truths. It makes it possible for what we know in our heads to be un-true to become real. The fortunate realize the lunacy of this and create families that include everyone in the adoptee's life, no matter the challenge of finding family members and maintaining relationships with them. Some reject reality outright and fabricate worlds that exclude even the mention of their children's parents and families.

Then there are people like me. I accept and respect and welcome the presence of my children's parents in their lives and ours; I wish we had been able to open our adoptions, in spite of the challenges I know that would have brought. But the fact that these men and women have only existed in our imaginations has led to a powerful alternate reality that we've been able to control at will. Out of sight, out of mind, out of reality, whenever we want.

Our daughter's mother may be aware of the fact that American colleges start classes in the fall, and she could very well be wondering where her daughter is going to school. Every milestone we've passed is one she may have lived through in her own imagination, though without the celebration. Yet as much as I understand this and have wanted to know this woman, I really didn't want her around as I watched my daughter take her place at college. I wanted that experience all to myself.

It was too easy. I simply didn't think about her, so she didn't exist. I could blame all kinds of influences for thinking this way, but really it comes down to me. I can conjure up a new truth whenever I need it, and last weekend I needed one that only included The Girl, Third Dad and me. I made it happen with ease. But now, with life returning to our new normal, I'd like to bring our daughter's mother back again and wish her into our family. How convenient - for me - to have that kind of control over her. But not right.

Everything I wish I'd known about adoption comes down to truth. I've always thought of the telling of truth as the accurate delivery of information; it's certainly part of the equation, but not all of it. Truth also exists in our desire to make our children's parents real to them, which takes more heart than head. In spite of the very real desire I have for my kids to know their parents, I learned with The Girl's departure just how easy it is for me to push their parents away, and claim the kids for myself. My head may have understood that all along, but clearly, my heart has its own agenda.


Lorraine Dusky said…
Must be the time of night, but I couldn't get through your post without tearing up.

Thanks for being the kind of mother you are.
malinda said…
As usual, Margie, unadulterated honesty. Even when the truth is hard.

And as usual, I've learned something from you -- which happens every time you post!
pickel said…
Thank you so much for contributing. Another one in about two weeks...
Mei-Ling said…
"But the fact that these men and women have only existed in our imaginations has led to a powerful alternate reality that we've been able to control at will. Out of sight, out of mind, out of reality, whenever we want."

Too true. Just too true.
I'm so glad you're an adoptive parent ally now.

Some people never even realize these things until it's far too late...
Diane said…
Your voice is so clear although I know it might feel muddled. You are a mother and you are a great writer- and those mingle so powerfully.
Terra said…
I've just returned from speaking at a conference, and also as a moderator for a panel discussion comprised of older adults who were adopted transracially. When I asked the panel if there were any last words they wanted to leave the audience with, they said, “That while they do appreciate the fact that their parents were willing to keep the topic of first parents/birth parents alive and a part of their growing up experience. At times they also just wanted their mothers to just be their mother, and without adoption always taking center stage.”

Margie, your inner wisdom guided you well.
love said…
guided here by a twitter link.....

thank you for this honesty. we're just beginning our adoption journey and i need these honest, heart-guided, truth-filled accounts. appreciate your transparency so much.

also, love terra's comment above!! =)
Margie said…
Thanks for understanding, guys. ~love, I'm glad you're willing to read the stories of those of us who see adoption differently now that we've experienced it for awhile. Keep reading and listening, because when you do ultimately adopt, everything you're learned will serve you well :)

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