Archive for May, 2009

I Have No Story

I was reading a story this afternoon about a Korean adoptee who found his mother after 37 years by going on a Korean talk show and sharing his story. Tears welled up in my eyes when I realized I don’t even have a story that I could tell on the show.

My history is shrouded in secrecy. How can I ever know who I am until I can figure out who I was?

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May 21, 2009 at 11:16 am 1 comment

Tough Love

left_in_tears“Hi. I adopted a teenager from foster care last year, though she lived with me for several years. Over the past year, she has become more defiant and manipulative. She began sneaking out most nights and became verbally and physically aggressive toward me. I was trying to get her placed in treatment, and she came at me, telling me she’d take me out. I pushed her back and called the police. They wanted to arrest her, but I said no because she needed mental help. She ran away before I could get her some help and has been gone for several months. They just found her and it turns out that her boyfriend is much older than she (in his 20’s) and she is pregnant by him. She’s made up so many stories about me–and while I live in a small area and everyone knows me, they still have to look into her stories. I don’t want her back. She’s threatened to kill me on several occasions and her boyfriend has threatened me. She’s in a gang. I’ve told the police and they’re looking into it and trying to get a protective order against the boyfriend. The judge did keep her in jail. And the state is trying to find her a residential placement. But I just don’t want to have anything to do with her, and yet I’m required because I’m her legal mom. She’s very scary and very charming and manipulative. I just have nothing more in me to keep at this with her. I’m a single, working mom and trying to balance that and the court hearings and the phone calls from everyone from child-protection to the guardian ad litem to the jail to the police to the CASA worker to the mental health people is so exhausting. I just don’t know what to do anymore and how to handle all of this all by myself. It’s so hard. And I’m so devastated. I adopted because I thought it was the right thing to do. But all it’s done is bring so much pain and fear into my life. How do I survive the next few years? And what if they try to release her to me–what then?”

 http://forums.adoption.com/parenting-older-child-behavioral-issues/358074-worn-out-adopted-teen.html

 This was a post that I read on adoption.com this morning by a mother of a teenage daughter she adopted from foster care. It struck a nerve within me, particularly since I have been thinking a lot on the topic of unconditional love lately.

 Particularly triggering for me was when the woman says “I don’t want her back”. How sad is that? For whatever reason your parents abandon you in foster care, then you are adopted by someone else who is supposed to love you unconditionally and she says she doesn’t want you back? That’s one of my biggest fears. I don’t want to ever hear my adoptive mom utter those words about me, although I am sure at times she grew frustratingly close to them.

 I tried to post a reply to this, but couldn’t. I registered solely for the purpose of replying to this post and for some odd reason the site would not let me post a reply.

 As an adoptee who has been there and done some of the most embarrassing, most manipulative, most horrible acts including stealing, lying, cheating, promiscuity, forging my adoptive mom’s signature, fighting, threatening, and other acts of defiance, I have come to understand what it is that drives us to do these things…..HURT. And fear.

 Hurt and fear are two of the most toxic emotions. They will bleed into parts of our lives we would otherwise keep separate. My anger at circumstance and my natural mom for relinquishing me were directed towards my adoptive mom. I had no reason to be angry with her in particular, but she was the one who most represented the center of my world. She was the stand in for the one the woman who had hurt me most. My anger caused me to do a lot of things I would have not otherwise done and would not consider in the realm of my possiblities now that I have come to terms with the anger.

 I never deliberately did things to be bad. Rather, I was always desperate to be good. No matter how hard I tried, goodness eluded me. The worse I behaved, the more lost I felt.

 My adoptive mom never gave up on me like the woman in the above post has given up on her daughter. Yes she made some mistakes, but she did not turn me out, did not give me back, did not abandon me. I can’t imagine the devastation in being abandoned twice. I don’t know if I could survive that. And if I did survive I would only be a shell of a person left with no emotion at all.

 To the woman who wrote the above post, I wish you could see how hurt your daughter is. Hurt and anger perpetuate her destructive actions. She needs you. We test our mothers, especially our adoptive moms. We push you to see if you will leave too. The pain and fear you feel right now are the feelings your daughter has undoubtedly felt her entire life. She will continue to feel those emotions no matter how hard she tries to be good.

Please love her. Please don’t give up on her. Don’t abandon her.

May 15, 2009 at 8:16 am 3 comments

Five Things I’d Want my Adoptive Mom to Know, but Will Probably Never Say to Her Face

Call me a coward if you like, but there are a few things I can’t say to my mom. What can I say? I have an unusually strong aversion to rejection. Don’t know where it comes from…

1. I can love both of you. Seriously. In fact I can love you, stepmom, and natural mom. Differently, uniquely, and wholly. Please don’t make me choose between you.

2. Who I am before I was with you is just as important to my life as who you were before you adopted me.

3. I swear I’m not trying to hurt you by searching. But you’re killing me by making me feel guilty.

4. Please admit you adopted my sister and I because you could not have children. It seems to me that saying you just wanted to help kids have a better life is a shallow premise cooked up considering we were poor as dirt for most of my childhood. It’s ok. Just be honest about it.

5. I can’t live the rest of my life trying to please you so you won’t leave me. It’s exhausting.

May 13, 2009 at 9:55 pm 4 comments

Letters/Forgiveness

love-letters

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot today. Not my adoptive mom, my natural mom.

When I was twelve or so, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I would become a journalist and write for all of the major newspapers and magazines. I would travel the world, pen in hand, and my words would make me famous. I practiced different types of writing techniques, one of which was a school assignment to write a letter to someone from the past who you would like to meet.

It was from that assignment that I wrote my very own “dear birthmother” letter. It makes me sad to think of my naievete back then. I wrote my mother a letter where I actually THANKED her for “giving me up” so that I could have a “better life”. I had to believe those things at that time because I don’t think I could have emotionally understood any other deeper things regarding adoption. Childhood was a little too rough on me for me to go too deep into anything.

My letters were random and usually written when I felt alone or sad or particularly ungrateful. They eventually morphed into angry letters where I said little else but to ask why I wasn’t good enough for her.

Today if I wrote her a letter I am not sure what I would say. There are many things, too many, that I could never express to her. I would never tell her how badly our separation has hurt me. I would never hurt her like that. I would not tell her about the nights that I have cried missing her or about the times that I felt like shit who was not even worthy of her mother’s love. I would not want my mother to be any sadder than I am sure she is, and I would not want her to feel any more guilt than I suppose she does.

But what if I meet her and she decides she did the right thing? What if she is glad she did not have me in her life to hold her back? What if she is glad she was rid of such a heavy burden? I can’t imagine how double rejection has to feel. To know once and for all that she does not love you and never has might hurt worse than never knowing. How could I live with myself if the person who made me cannot love me?

If I wrote her now, my letters would be from a place of forgiveness. I am the kind of person who will be quick to get angry, but will forgive almost anything within a certain amount of time.   I am quick to anger, but just as quick to mellow. If I can completely forgive my mother, I can start to forgive myself.

What am I forgiving myself for? My biggest sin. My darkest secret. I have to forgive myself for having been unworthy of love. Once I forgive myself, my life will change. People will not leave me. I will be whole. Unafraid.

I’m not yet ready to write her another letter. I will write again when I can tell her that I have forgiven myself.

May 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Five Things I Would Like My Natural Mother to Know

 five

Five things I would like my Natural Mother to Know:

1. I forgive you.

2. I’m still mad at you though.

3. I AM good enough now. I AM.

4. Missing you has taken a toll on my heart and made me older than I really am.

5. I would love it if you came to get me. Rescue me. Please.

May 13, 2009 at 11:49 am 3 comments

Mother’s Day

tequila-sunrise-rose

Yesterday was a tough day for myself and thousands of my fellow adoptees. Why? While I am glad to celebrate my adoptive mom and all of the graet things she has brought into my life, I can’t help but dwell on the wonderful things my natural mother might have given me and upon my loss of her.

 I started my mother’s day off by going to breakfast with my fiance’s family. I was fine until I got in the car and started thinking about her again. At that moment I went from being Katie, back to being adopted. Each time I get jolted back into my reality like this, the enormity of my loss hits me like a slap in the face. I feel like I have been plummeted into a bottomless pool of cold, cold water. I have been dumped into an ocean of grief and I have no idea how to swim.

 A tear or two rolled down my face. I would have rather kept that moment private, but my fiance was in the car with me, driving to the restaurant. “It’s okay” he said “Your Korean mom is out there somewhere and she loves you”. But it’s not okay. And I don’t believe she loves me. How could she love me, yet damn me to this odd purgatory where I am forbidden from missing her, where I am told to deny my instincts and my nature?

 The nicer my fiance tried to be, the angrier I grew. Instead of providing me the comfort he intended, his words cut deep into my skin and I bled fury. Once we had stopped at the restaurant, I jumped out of the car leaving him sitting there, confused with the engine still idling. Rather than accept his comforting words and his love, I decided to push him away. After all, if my mother taught me one thing, it is that I am wholly unworthy of love.

 Spending time with my adoptive mom was difficult. I feel so much shame when I’m near her because I fear how she will react when she finds out that I need a relationship with my natural mother. It’s a dirty little secret that I hide from her and the rest of my adoptive family. I would hate for them to feel the type of rejection that runs through my veins. I would hate for them to feel abandoned by me. As much as they have hurt me, I can’t stand to hurt them.

 I will remember this mother’s day forever. I will remember it as the first year that I was not just the daughter of my “real” mom, but also of a very real woman who gave me life.

 May 10, 2009. My first mother’s day as the lost daughter of two very real mothers.

May 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm 3 comments

How I Relate to Wolverine

hj-wolverine-big

I saw Wolverine last night. As much as I hate Hugh Jackman for being an adoptive parent pod person who inhales adoption rainbow farts, I love X-Men more. Out of all the comics and cartoons I saw when I was growing up, X-Men always made an impression on me.

I think the beginning of my fascination with X-Men was due to the camaraderie found between all of the mutants. Most other comics feature superheroes that go it alone or with a sidekick ala Batman and Robin, but the X-Men are a group of similar people connected to one another by their differences. Yes they may be freaks that don’t fit in within normal society, but they share a common bond and a mission. I always craved that mutual understanding from others like me. I wished and longed to feel as though I was not just a freak, that I was not alone. There is a part of all of us that needs to feel we are not alone, a need to share, and the desire to be understood.

While I liked most of the characters in X-Men, Wolverine was always my favorite character. I loved him long before Hugh Jackman brought him to the silver screen. Brooding and mysterious men have always been my crushes. Even when they are cartoon characters there is something that draws me to that characteristic. Rather than a type a character like Cyclops who is preppy, has the pretty girlfriend, and the hot car, I’d go for Wolverine with his motorcycle, shaggy hair, and brooding stare any day. I wonder if this again has anything to do with my desire to fit in with someone who understands what it’s like to feel like an outcast.

Towards the ending of Wolverine, Wolverine/Logan has been shot about six times (including two shots to the head) and his body starts to repair the wounds it has endured. He recovers easily but when he stands, he does not know who is or remember how he got there. He is completely alone as the love of his life lay dead a few feet from where he rose, however he does not remember her. The only piece of his past he has available to him are the dog tags slung around his neck with his name embedded upon them. He grasps the tags and wonders who he is.

It was sad to me that his memory was taken away, but I think I may have found it markedly sadder than others in the theater because I related to that, to him having to go and make his way on his own, his identity unknown to him. With his identity unclear and no memories of his past he is forced to choose who he is rather than just being who he was supposed to be. Just as he went his own way, I go mine with no memories of my past, no history to mold me.

May 7, 2009 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

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