Lately I have been going back and forth about being honest and forthcoming about my feelings on adoption with those around me and in my life. It’s hard to explain to people how you can love those in your life that are adoptive parents and still hate the industry. Some people don’t understand how you can separate the two. But I can. I do and I will. Some may assume I hate IKL’s parents. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll tell you what I do hate. I hate the lack of education that we were provided with. TRUE education. At times, throughout these 14 years, I have felt like I was in limbo, not knowing how to approach certain things. I would say she they have probably felt the same. I hate that I felt that I could not parent, that that seed was subtly placed in my mind. Did my daughter have a better life because of my choice? Who knows. There will never be an answer to that question because we don’t know what her life would have been like with me, her ghost life. For her sake I pray that it is better than it would have been. Recent issues she’s been having that I won’t get into have really made me start questioning things. I can’t help it. But I CAN help separating all of that, all of these feelings, from the individuals involved. There was no plot by them against me. Her parents weren’t out to do evil against me or her. Things just weren’t what I expected and I’m thinking it wasn’t for them as well. Regardless, we love IKL tremendously, what is done is done and we must move forward from here for whatever is best for her. I have stated before, and will stress again, that the most important member of the adoption situation is always the adoptee. They are the ones who had no choice at all, not even a fighting chance at a choice. Their wishes, their feelings must always be respected, whatever they may be. I know very happy adoptees who feel that nothing is missing in their life and I know severely damaged adoptees that feel as if they’ve been robbed of a life. These sentiments could be from 2 different adoptees raised in the exact same loving adoptive home. Every person is different. What cannot be ignored, is the fact that adoption is not the “end-all” solution for happiness and happily ever after. It must be acknowledged that undesirable outcomes are possible and do happen. And changes need to be made accordingly for future generations.
So…where am I right now?
Obsessed. Constantly. I am obsessed with thoughts of IKL. I go through phases like this. I want more, more, more. More information, more contact, more news… And the only outlet I have for this obsession is this blog and my wonderful support groups online. My most recent fear is the age of 18. When you are making an “adoption plan” for your unborn child, you rationalize the pain you are feeling away. One of those rationalizations is the magic age of 18. “When she turns 18 we can have a relationship. I won’t replace the mother she has, but we will be able to finally know each other.” I am just about 4 years from 18. You would think this would make me excited and hopeful for the future. It is the opposite. I am terrified. I am terrified that she will reject me. I am terrified she will instruct her parents to cease communication with me. I am terrified that I am violating her privacy, even now, with her parents telling me about her. If I were her I would feel a little weirded out about that so I can’t blame her. I am terrified because she is now her own person, an individual, with a voice. This never occurred to me while I was pregnant or terminating my parental rights. It should have, but it didn’t. I was rationalizing it away so that I could go through with the adoption.
Further complicating matters are four other children. My parented ones. Like IKL, they also had NO choice in any of this. They know they have a sister. They see pictures, hear the updates, always have. I would never lie to them about something like that. I know they feel something is missing. I know they long for their sister. I know they wonder if she longs for them. Sometimes, when little things happen that makes it obvious they are in pain from my adoption choice, I think, “What did I do?” I had no idea. I never even considered how much this would impact them.
My youngest daughter is 12. She was recently diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, high functioning. In her screening the psychologist gave her a children’s book with no words. The book was filled with a series of pictures and the main characters were frogs. She was told to make her own story up. Right there, in the 16 page long official diagnosis, adoption was screaming. It states, “A was very creative in her story, however it had very sad and anxious undertones. She told me that the frog had an adopted sister and he was always worried about his sister.” In black and white….the power of my adoption and its impact on my children. And there is nothing I can do about it but reassure her. She feels rejected. She has written IKL 2 letters in 3 years and they both went unanswered. How do I explain to her that we have to respect IKL? How do I do what is best for ALL of my kids in this situation? All “A” feels is rejected.
So, there it is. I’m on the edge. I want to be honest with those I care about, but I risk hurting feelings and losing friends. People I care deeply about. Will they understand how I can separate them personally and still advocate for family preservation? Family preservation would mean the lives they have now would not have existed. To them it is like telling them they shouldn’t exist in the families they do now. How does one go about being in my position?
Some will think I’m angry and bitter. Dwelling on the past with regret when I should be happy I made a “selfless” choice. Nothing else could be further from the truth. Dwelling on regret, maybe a little. I’m not angry or bitter, though. I just think that if I can do whatever I can do to save just one mother from this limbo I call life then its worth it. If it’s at ALL possible for a mother to not be separated from her baby and endure that pain then why shouldn’t it be that way?