The Christmas Hangover

Please see “EDIT” at the bottom before reading.

While New Year’s hasn’t yet come upon us, Christmas is said and done. Holidays and birthdays are always really hard in this life as a “birthmom.” I imagine that for some adoptees it is as well. I can only write from my point of view, in my role, though.

Open adoption was supposed to be a way for me to not feel so sad. To not wonder. To have a small part of my daughter, especially around birthdays and holidays. At first I would get pictures (even a video on her first birthday) on these hard days to make it a little easier to cope. It’s been some time since I received actual birthday pictures or holiday pictures. I haven’t seen pictures of my daughter opening up birthday or Christmas presents in years. I always send an email or letter on or just before these days to let them know I am thinking of her (and them) and I always hope that they will find it in their hearts to send something along for me to make those days better. Something to let me into that little part of their lives, their celebrations with her. This year I sent my Christmas email a couple days before Christmas and have yet to get any response. I don’t think I’m going to. Like I said, it’s been years.

Other emails, those not written around holidays and birthdays, are usually responded to within a few days or a few weeks. Sometimes they include a picture, sometimes a short line letting me know they received whatever I sent. These emails that I send are not usually time sensitive so it’s okay if they are answered late. Sometimes I play the devil’s advocate and think, “Maybe they aren’t aware that I would like a picture of her on her birthday or Christmas. I can’t expect them to be mind readers.” But these are just excuses. Why WOULDN’T I want a picture on these days? An update? It doesn’t take a mind reader to be considerate and think of me. Sometimes it feels almost willful and purposeful. I can never say for sure so my mind allows that sliver of hope that says it’s just an oversight. My heart says otherwise.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m still being purposely punished for the falling out we had 12 years ago when I changed my mind about relinquishing my subsequent child to them. They did promise I would never see IKL again and, so far, that promise has been kept. And that is when everything changed.

So this is what I call the “Christmas Hangover.” While the holidays (and birthdays) themselves can be a hard time, it’s the silence that comes afterwards that lingers. Like the headache after a heavy night of whiskey and beer. It’s the reminder that you are really not important enough to be considered. It’s the reminder that you have no control and they have all control – and they will use it accordingly.

In a few weeks the holidays and their hangovers will be officially over and things can return to somewhat of a norm. I won’t have to start processing these deep emotions again until October/November when her birthday rolls around again. For that I am thankful.

**EDIT** I am leaving this up to further reiterate the mind set of a birthmom. I wrote this under the assumption that I had been disregarded and found out shortly after that the reason for the silence at the holidays was because of the surprise in the mailbox. (SEE: The Letter) One of the horrible things about the bad side of being a birthmom is the insecurity it holds.

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16 thoughts on “The Christmas Hangover

  1. The holidays are bittersweet, aren’t they? Add a birthday to the mix, and it’s a double whammy. I try to keep it all low-key and just get through it, one day at a time. I wish you a peaceful new year’s eve and ((Hugs)) throughout 2015.

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  2. I don’t know your story entirely, but if you were going to relinquish another child to them, I am so glad you changed your mind even if they cut you off from your daughter. I just can’t imagine losing MORE children to adoption, to a lifetime of separation, to adoptive parents so cold and heartless, they don’t send updates. I have a semi-open agreement with my son’s parents, I get a letter and pictures every six months. February and August, so I get nothing on holidays too. All contact is through the agency too. I’ve grown to become very detached from these updates, otherwise those six months are interminable.

    IKL must be a teenager–are you going to contact her directly soon? Sorry if that’s too personal. I’m sure she thinks of you a lot. ❤

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    • I am glad I didn’t as well. Yes, IKL is a teenager. I have been allowed to write to her and her parents give her what I send, as far as I know. This started about a year ago. So far she has no interest, or so I’m told, to write back. We had an original agreement for visits, updates, pictures, direct contact, etc but now it is limited to some email updates, the occasional picture and every few years I will get a picture book. There was no actual written agreement to begin with. Just verbal promises. I’m glad we don’t have to go through the agency. I can only imagine…ugh. Most likely the special email that is set up for me to write to just hasn’t been checked yet. Still hurts, though. How long have you been living this “sentence?”

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      • I am really sorry she doesn’t write back. I wonder if she thinks her parents will screen whatever she writes, and she would rather not deal with the fallout from them. It’s heartbreaking how complete the loss of adoption can be.

        My son turned two in August. It is indeed hard to go through the agency, since I absolutely loathe those people and they don’t mail my updates on time. A-mom sends them pretty much on time, but then the envelopes sit on someone’s desk for a month.

        I am grateful my son is still so little. If he was older and had the choice to be in my life to some degree, and chose not to, I can’t imagine how I’d feel.

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      • That has to be maddening. It is more difficult the closer to 18 she gets. I thought it would be easier but knowing she can make a choice to erase me from her life is probably the scariest thing I have ever faced. :/

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  3. ExFUCKINGpletive YOU think YOU feel bad. You had a self before you lost her. She had an amniotic sac and a few months of you as her pulsating total universe before her universe was ripped from her. Read again above. Is anything about her and not you????????????????

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    • I am going to assume that you are an adopted person and that your anger towards your birthmother is being directed at me. Just as I read blogs written by adoptees to gain a better understanding as to what they are feeling, adoptees are free to read my blog, as a birthmother, to gain a better understanding of what I am feeling. As I stated above, I am not adopted so I cannot vouch for the feelings of anyone adopted, only my own. Which I am free to do. Irregardless of any of that, no two people process emotions in exactly the same way.If you would have taken the time to read through any of my other posts you would realize we are both on the same team. I overwhelmingly advocate for family preservation and adoptee rights. I’m sorry that you are having trouble with the choices that were made on your behalf before you were even born. However, do not blame me, someone you have never met, for those things. I am not your birthmother. But I do hope that you find a way to work through the trauma that has been inflicted in your life. I truly do.

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  4. Can you imagine being ripped in two – or fractured into so many pieces that never were whole anyway – with them giving you parts of your mother – with you having to moderate your reaction to that to preserve their feelings… OF COURSE she wants to know you. Put yourself in her situation. But you cannot. Only other adoptees can know the obliteration of adoption and the fight to make it OK for everyone else involved at the expense of the self. ALWAYS the self had to sacrifice for survival.

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    • You’re right that I will never know what it feels like to be adopted, but you are very wrong when you state that I don’t know what it is like to have to fight to make it okay for everyone else involved at the expense of self. For years and years I had to put on the “good birthmom” facade and pretend that everything was okay. I am ALWAYS walking on egg shells to make sure that I don’t offend anyone. Especially my daughter’s adoptive parents. I most certainly will NOT do it here.

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    • Sharyn, I am an adoptee as well and I understand. I can feel your hurt and your anger in your words. Getting through our adopted lives can be so hard and at times, damn near unbearable. I wanted to know my nmom since my first memories as a child. It was a longing that I felt, that I could not properly grasp at such a young age. I now know I was longing for my nmom. And I agree, I feel that BeeMom’s child wants to know her. She may not be able to express those feeling to her aparents right now. We are programmed to be loyal and grateful. It is incredibly hard to convey to our aparents how we truly feel. About a year ago, I met my nmom. She was just as broken (if not more). Although our experiences as adoptees and our nmoms, may be different, we share the pain of being separated. By choice or not by choice, Sharyn, we share our pain with our mothers.

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      • Absolutely we do. While I’m sure there are some nmoms out there who just didn’t care, from my experience the majority who weren’t directly forced made the “choice” of adoption for lack of any other options. That is where I fit in. There was no other option. Literally. Or, at least, that is what I was made to believe. Looking back I now know that wasn’t true. And now it’s too late.

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  5. I am an adoptee in a completely failed reunion. Natural mom said absolutely NOT. She married my father and I have three full sisters. She, my father, and entire natural family have me completely blacked out of their lives, no social media, wouldn’t send me medical history before a surgery…. It’s been the biggest nightmare of my life. She told my paternal grandmother that she had a life to lead and I should do the same. I thought that was odd, because for most of us adoptees, or life is about “the journey back home”. I definitely always loved my natural mother and still do. Since this happened just over two years ago i vacillated between extreme depression with suicidal ideation and anger. After the last anniversary (coming out of the fog) it lasts from the end of September until after my birthday, November 1st. I knew I needed to heal. I cannot just sit around and perpetually grieve. I joined the adoption healing network on Facebook. Oh wow, I wasn’t ready for what was going to happen to me. I was twisted and tested, educated and taught, all about the adoption industry, baby scoop era, coercion tactics agencies use. The pain and shame that natural mothers carry and sometimes cannot face. Needless to say my compassion is expanding everyday. I feel the swell of emotion beginning to subside, and in its place a complete all encompassing empathy for my natural mom. I really don’t know her reasons for not wanting reunion, but I hope someday she will change her mind and I will finally get to meet my sister. I mention this because the angry post person sounds a lot like how I felt at one point. It’s too much too carry. I invite them to join the conversation. It’s tough but really worthwhile if the emotions are damaging your life.

    Thanks for listening. Much love to you!

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    • Oh wow, Megan. I am so very sorry. I know that natural moms who do not have any kind of outlet for the grief and unimaginable pain that happens at the surrender of their child cannot possibly be able to process everything once there is contact and a reunion. I am glad that I have this blog and the wonderful people I have met along the way. It has helped me to begin my healing and coming out of the fog early enough so that I am prepared for whatever emotions will be there if there is a reunion with my daughter. Some natural mothers are just unwilling to deal with it or are too scared to find out what’s underneath it all. Most, even the ones who deny contact, live with great shame and guilt. I truly do hope my daughter wants a relationship one day. I know that is selfish of me…my wants. But, regardless, I hope she is happy in whatever she chooses. Happy and healed. Much love to you as well!! ❤

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