Friday, December 28, 2007

why am i here?

Having, in the space of a year, gotten married, had a baby, started a restaurant (putting my family at great economic jeopardy), closed said restaurant, and having found myself unemployed with time on my hands for the first time in twenty-five years, I started wandering in the desert* of the adoption blogoshpere. Amongst the gems and the rubble, I was lucky to find Ungrateful Little Bastard, who said, "Contact denial is just the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae of adoption."

For sure, it is. When I first contacted my bmom, she refused contact, not doing much for the deepening cynicism and paranoid disorder that characterized "Jesus year" of 33. Synchronistically enough, however, it turns out her son, my half-brother, was at that time preparing for his marriage, and when he went to public records for a copy of his birth certificate was surprised to find himself not listed as the first live birth in the family. After repeated pestering of bmom, she finally discloses the deep, dark and shameful fact of my relinquishment to him. It was he who applied enough pressure over time for her to agree to meet me and begin a reunion that for while I'm deeply thankful for (don't wnt to sound ungrateful!), is still tenuous ten years later.

One huge thing that I've learned in reunion is that, while my whole life questioning and search was "all about the birthmother," the main gift has been relationship with my half-sibs, which continues to resonate and strengthen each passing year. Of course, that doesn't keep me from constantly and in both conscious and unconscious ways pushing my bmom, making emotional demands she's incapable of fulfilling, and wanting her to be her ghost-self, the rightful and present mother of that ghost-baby -- roly and poly and cute and smiling and loving with adoring eyes as my little (birth)son is, looking wordlessly deep into the soul of his mother.

For us, bmom and me, ongoing contact denial is a foregone conclusion because those ghost part of ourselves can never be together. That shamed part of her, forced into dissociative and cold detachment, denies contact with that outraged, screaming and abandoned part of me. We both have a core of inner sadness that stems from our mutually unwilling separation that occasionally, if the time and setting are right, we can see in each other and wordlessly acknowledge. But for the most part, she is frozen and I am pissed off. It feels like it falls to me, being of the 60-s era of abundant psychology and gratuitous self-reflection, to put the effort forth to forge the "healthier relationship," and I try, but I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a voice inside repeating, "But isn't it her job to come to me?"

To Theresa, thanks for your blog, the tears it inspired and for inspiring me to join the conversation. Thinking of your birthmother's denial of contact, my heart goes out to you; it's raw, I know. But I also know, especially if it comes to other birth relatives, it ain't over till it's over.

why am i here? to start to have these conversations again with my fellow clanfolk of the adoption diaspora...and, as i recognize somehow in hindsight, today is also the twenty-fifth anniversary of my adoptive mom's death....forty-three years old and it looks like i'm still waiting for permission to be a little....ungrateful...

* please tolerate ongoing archetypal adoptee references, i.e. Moses.