My extra earlobe.
May 10, 2014
Posted By: Shaunescy
Oh my dear reader, it's been far too long since I've sat down to have a heart to heart with you.
I write about all kinds of things; my fitness stuff, pole-dancing, aerial yoga, local happenings, the giveaways, social commentary and social-networking commentary. I write about the eagles who perch in our cottonwoods, building fairy gardens, how to make your kids feel better when they are sick, my kids trying out the word "DUH," and how my son stuck his tongue to a metal pole on a -10 degree day. My very first post on Gum in Your Hair was about sending my son to preschool. Between the recipes and telling you about schoolyard shennanigans, I have shared a lot of this mommy-journey.
Of course not all of it. That is impossible as you well know for yourself. Heck, I talk to my mom every single day and she doesn't know the half of it. But, while I have been getting ready for the summer and winding down this helluva-school-year, I have been wanting to write about a special and personal topic.
And over and over for the past couple of weeks, I have written and re-written a deeply heartfelt but painfully overwrought blog.
Dear heaven, help me not make an ass out of myself.
My opening paragraph was, "If you think about a person as if they are a parcel of land, one that has experienced some weather and time, the most simple and cyclical things take on a patina. As I walk around my personal parcel of motherhood, I constantly and concertedly try to mend and improve. Using my space to create ease and flow throughout the seasons of life for all who wander around on it."
Which tells you pretty much nothing useful. So here is the skinny version.
I am a birthmother. It was an open adoption that happened over 20 years ago. I have always known her. My mom is one of her 3 grandmothers, My sisters are her aunties and it is all good.
From the awful article that I cannot publish because of suckitude:
"As a young person, I became pregnant and chose to place my child in an open adoption. In an open adoption, there are many choices to be made about boundaries, about fences between the birthmother, the child, and the adoptive parents.
I was scared when I put my child up for adoption, but I was sure. This little person was coming, and I loved her, but I could not give her the things I wanted to give her. I barely even knew what I wanted for myself.
Now that I have 2 kids of my own and we are having the getting to know you kind of conversations on the playground, or my kids are being asked to describe their family for school projects -- my work on this fence-line has begun in a quietly public way.
When my daughter had a preschool immediate-family-tree project, she drew her family and was set to explain it in a show-and-tell fashion. She drew her full family. Including her sister.
Preemptively, I jetted into the preschool and pulled one of the teachers aside to explain. "Nope, she is not making this other sibling up like an imaginary friend. I am a birthmother, and she has a 21 year old sister for real. Yes, they have met. Yes, there is a great relationship."
In my case, the fence has a hinged gate. It has always opened. And with sensitivity and love and courage the hinges get oiled and open with more ease."
I was writing about it because I am so incredibly excited that she is coming out west to stay with us for a week. And she is a gigantic part of my life.
I have flown to the Midwest to visit with her and her family many times. And since their arrivals, I've taken each of my littles back there with me, in turn. It's been a couple of years. Too long.
Last week, my son told me he didn't really remember her. So I asked if she wanted to come here and then I booked a flight. She is ready and they need each other.
Or as my 5 year old daughter says, "We need ya-chother."
When I meet other moms on the playground and they ask me if I have other kids, sometimes I say, "Yes, she has a brother that is 2 years older," and leave it at that.
It is really a challenge sometimes to guess when it is best to explain. Is this other mom going to be a close friend, so it will be awkward to go back and "confess" about my beautiful birth daughter? Or is this one of those moments where another woman and I are just chitchatting on the playground when she asks me a question about how many kids I have...and I drop my humanity-bomb?
I do find myself sometimes saying, "Well, I am a birthmother to a 21 year old daughter, but I just have these two at home." And I have to tell you, it is funny to me how often that word simply deflects off of the other person's mind.
Unless you are part of an adoptive relationship, the word birthmother literally has no meaning.
I asked my very first heart-pirate to give me a thumbs up or down to writing about us, she said something so smart.
"For me, I've never known a life without adoption and a complicated family tree full of branches of love and more grandparents than anyone I know! (I just love old people). I understand what you mean how sometimes people receive adoption in a kind of surprised way and give off a vibe of rejection. That is frustrating.
Your metaphor of the land that "takes on a patina" is an interesting image.
It's so interesting to me because adoption has always been a part of me. Just like having earlobes has. But, for you. It hasn't always been there. So, it's like you gained an extra earlobe that you have to cope with. Or maybe instead of earlobes, you've gained a third eye. Fascinating."
Part of my work in life with this has been coming up with clear answers to the same questions that I get repeatedly about it. I am protective of my kids and respectful of myself. But there is this underlying challenge. It's almost like due to my frank relationship of the facts of my life I am in an unavoidable discussion of my premature sexual history with a lot of people. whew.
But it is ok. And I guess what makes me uncomfortable sometimes is more how the small ways in which we all interact -- with the artifice of proper politesse, causes a disconnect with an occasional side of judgement.
However, what I am discovering as time goes on and my family grows and has more and more complicated interactions is this, once that initial conversation happens, it usually creates a sense of calm trust. Like, if we all could just be a little more transparent, and see each other more simply as people, the world would move along much more smoothly.
People are really cool, when I give them a chance. I'll keep you posted.
All my best, BunnyFufu ~ The Housewife