we are everywhere

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Holding a Soul

Sometimes, it is difficult for me to reach out to my first born child. My fears of rejection and the 30 year old misbeliefs so deeply engrained in my head resound with the words that I am not good enough for my own son. And there is that thing called guilt. All these things so often impede my ability to simply phone him when I would like to just say, "hello and how are ya doing?" So often weeks and weeks pass before I can step over my fears and make that phone call. So, I am really my own jailer and hold myself in exile from the opportunities to communicate more frequently with him and from more steady progress in building our relationship. And then, I wonder if my failure to reach out more often is perceived by my son as rejection. And so there is another layer of guilt for me! More added crazy making to this whole thing...

However, every single day without fail, even on the days I garner the courage to make that phone call, I hold him in my thoughts and keep him spiritually close. Holding a Soul is about some of my thoughts on my spiritual connection to him; or to any one of my children, for that matter.

Holding a Soul

Would you set this child's soul before me?
Show me the hurt; Nudge me closer so that my breath
blows across his shapeless pain?

Would you help me to draw this soul closer?
So that your life flows to fill the fissures and
and binds his being?

Would you help me to extend my arms?
To hold this child's soul; to encircle his soul for the length
of its dark night?

Monday, July 17, 2006


Cabin fever can set in during the middle of July. It's way too hot to go for a jog around the neighborhood; all I could manage this morning was a slow saunter around the block before a blaze of sun rose to 9 o'clock in the sky. I work over the weekends right now, so Monday is my Saturday and there chores to be done; a multitude of groceries to buy for feeding pre, post and adolescent male beings. There is a perfectly stacked pyramid of unscraped dirty dishes obscuring every inch of countertop. Most teenagers are primarily night feeders I have discovered. And of course my howling creature in the mud room from which I daily run and hide...the laundry monster.

So, I am avoiding my chores for the moment to work out some of this edgy energy I am feeling. Reading and writing sometimes does it for me. Thoughts about adoption run through my head constantly. I spend a lot of in- my -head time trying to put words to my experience of having lost my child to adoption. I think I am beginning to find some of the words. Reading the words of other mothers of adoption loss helps. The other mothers I have found since the beginning of my reunion five years ago have been my life line. I also cannot find the words to describe how much they have helped me. The dates, locations and details of our experiences differ, but the core of our experience is the same.

An old childhood friend called me up last week. We were best of friends in grade school and junior high and throughout our young adulthood. Away from our separate "social groups" in high school we shopped, never stopped talking; and I could just relax and simply be myself when we were together. I didn't have to put all that energy out there with her in trying to be something other than, or so much more than, what I was.

She was in town last week and called to say hello. A mother of two; one born to her and one adopted, she told me that is considering adopting again. I said very little in response to her. I cannot jump up and down with joy when I hear of a pending adoption. I cannot do it anymore.

After an embarrassing long moment of my own silence, I began to speak honestly to her and explained, that for me, adoption is not a joyous event. She then spoke to me a little bit of her adoption related experiences.

I also have missed my friend over the past years. I know that I have pulled away from our relationship because of my pain around loss of my son. I have missed her and sometimes I wish I could go back to the time in our relationship before either of us had any children. She was one of my very best girlhood friends. You know, we spent lazy summer days, much like this July day, riding our bikes to the pond for picnic lunches and hours reading and talking and then riding back to our homes just in time for supper.

I am glad to have my friend back, again. Adoption may very well be a topic about which she and I will have to agree to disagree. I believe I will be able to talk to her more about my adoption experience sometime. I will need to, I think, in order to bring a more honest foundation to our renewed friendship. Though, I have to understand as we renew our friendship, that she may not ever see adoption from my perspective. Another "dance step" of adoption I will have to learn. I am just happy to have my friend back. I have missed her.

So words keep swishing around in my head; thoughts agitating like my washing machine should be right now. I will get to those dirty towels in just a few minutes.

The words I presently have which express my most intelligible, coherent thoughts around adoption are these:

Please, Lord, please. No more mothers and children; no more fathers and children unnecessarily separated from one another; especially by adoption.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

So, I went....

I finally did it this week. On Sunday, I went to the cemetery where the natural grandparents of my son are buried. The place I have to drive by each day to and from work. I entered the gates without seeming to make a conscious decision; probably because I have avoided following through on the decision to go which I really had made weeks ago.

It is a huge national military cemetery comprised of acres of white grave markers. I was surprised at how easy it was to find their graves. There is a central building with a touch screen computer for locating the graves of the deceased. I used the locator map to find the right cemetery section. The section in which they are buried is about an acre in size and I circled around in my van to find some numeric marker or an indicator to show that I was even close. When I decided that I might be close, I parked and started searching on foot. Amazingly, I had stopped my vehicle within feet of his grandparents' graves.

What did I do there? Though, I am not sure I know exactly why I went or if I even clearly can say now of what benefit it was to me that I did, I do know that I sat beside their graves in the hot sun and some of the tension baked out of my shoulders. And I felt the praire wind across my arms and body. And I sat for about 20 minutes next to their headstones and looked across the expansive plain of holy, sacred ground and at the multitude of white grave stones.

To the east, the direction I faced, was life and great noise; an international airport with the explosion of ascending and descending jets, prop planes and military planes. To my west, and my back, another smaller airport blending with the sounds of a light rail train. I think the most beautiful cemeteries are the ones that are next to the musical, discordant sounds and movements of the living. Perhaps this is a morbid sequence of thought, but maybe it is genetic in some way as I am the grandaughter of a mortician.

I sat in the noontime sun and heat of a mid July day. At first, I busied and distracted myself with pulling some invading clumps of crab grass around their headstones and brushed away the dried grass cuttings covering their names. I studied their middle intials and memorized their birthdates; curious for what middle names the intials stood. I traced my finger in the carving of their surname.

And then I cried. I allowed myself to open up a certain reservoir of pain. Can't describe well where inside of me it originates or exactly define the pain....Of course it is about loss. Huge loss.

I do think that I will go back. It feels like a safe place to simply be and cry if I need or to think and pray. I pray and wish to continue to pray for my son's natural parents. And I wish to continue pray for their son who is the father of my son; and all of the family. And I hope that these souls, to whom I have a connection through the existence of my first born, will also pray for me.

I think I left the cemetery with some of what it was I may have been searching. Although, as I was driving into that place I wouldn't have been able to articulate to another living soul nor my even to myself why I was going there. I just was going.

I left feeling a little more peaceful; and very happy to have discovered another place to go for quiet contemplation. And I think I left with greater gratitude for my life that day. Feeling grateful that I was alive and I had that day to go to the grocery store to buy food. That I could cook a meal which would nourish the bodies of some of those I love. And a few days farther into this week with the time I have had to think about my stop at the cemetery, I am feeling thankful that I have this day, this particular Thursday, to be alive and to love the people in my life to the best of my ability.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Firework Duds and Clearing the Smoke

Post holiday letdown for me. I am so glad that the 4th is over. I like the "ordinary" time the best. The month of May is a deluge of Mother's Day and birthdays and then comes July with the 4th and two more birthdays. Holidays and birthdays are always a sharp combination of joy and sorrow for me. It doesn't mean that I am not grateful for each of my children. I am grateful for the simple fact that each exists as a unique soul; an irreplaceable being with their own strengths and weaknesses. I am grateful to hear the resonance of their voices, the opportunities to be with them and to see the light in their eyes which reflect back to me the light of the Creator.

However, that rendering of my being at relinquishiment and the distortion of my own nature by adoption loss; the severing slashes at the warp of my family's foundation and the continuous fraying of the weave of my family by the "forever" realities of adoption are most apparent to me at holidays and birthdays.

Yup. I have my hand up again. This time as a NOT happy "b****" mom. Definitely am not one. As a happy b**** mom, I have become a failure. For years I was a pretty darn good one; Silently behaving "as if my child was NOT born to me".

Now, I just hate the whole stinking sulphurous mess. It's like a whole bunch of duddy firecrackers that cracked open with a slow hissing and have raised up banks of billous puke green clouds and darkened the sky. Makes it really hard to see the festive sparklers and chandlier fireworks ( my favorite) shimmering beside the stars.

And as each holiday and birthday rolls through and it becomes so painfully apparent that my first born is not present at the festivities, I have to remind myself it is the relationship that he and I create that is fundamental to our reunion. Most certainly on the spiritual plane he is of us; and if ever he is able to or wishes to claim his own place within our family on the physical plane, it will be to me like having a fantasitc fireworks display as part of an already wonderous celebration. If ever he and my other children begin to form real friendships, those sibling relationships will be simply bonuses to the reunion and to our family.

For now, post holiday, I need to again, firmly focus on the incredulous opportunity that my oldest child and I have to know one another. We ARE getting the chance to simply be alive together; to spend time together in seeing and listening to one another; even though most often these are not at traditionally celebratory times as noted by the calendar. Our "ordinary" time together is always cause for celebration for me. We are beginning to strengthen and reinforce with time, patience and perseverence our distorted and frayed, but never completely destroyed relationship.

The weaving of our relationship has hundreds of holes in it. Years and decades spent apart have left so many open spaces. Reunion is allowing us to tie together some of the threads and begin our own new weaving. We will never be able to fill in the first part of the weaving; and this new section of our weaving will also have open spaces as he is now an adult; but it can be beautiful still with lacey spaces for light to shine through and infuse our relationship.

Sometimes, I ask myself, given the reality of his adoption and the fact that he does have two mothers, would I rather be the mother who adopted him? Would I rather have seen all of his birthdays, Christmases, 4th of Julys, his tears and early smiles; been to all the doctors visits, school conferences, done all that laundry; had all of these very great privileges of motherhood? Would I rather be the the mother to whose home he travels as an adult for holidays and family reunions?

....Or would I rather be who I am to him; the mother to whom he was born?

And whenever I ask myself which mother I would rather be, I have the same answer. Given the presently unchangeable circumstances created by his adoption decades ago, given that there is no going back; I always decide that I would rather be the mother I am to him. I am the mother who is no longer any good at pretending as if my son was not born to me.