we are everywhere

Friday, September 29, 2006

...What to do?.

I had to lie to myself for 25 years about who you are to me and who I am to you. Know that it was my way of coping. I signed the damn papers. Another mother wrote recently in her blog that she sobbed while signing. Me too. I remember saying outloud to the social worker that I couldn't even see the paperwork because I was crying so hard.

Celine Dion sings a piece on her "A New Day Has Come" album that says something like "ten days have come and gone...10 days and I'm all alone... and now all I can do is pray and pray.." After 10 days from surrender I believed you were gone forever. Legally this may not have been true, but it is what I believed.

Now in reunion, I am seeing how I have lied to myself for so many years.

And I also know more clearly how much surrender and the years of separation have distorted and twisted our natural relationship. And sometimes, I feel so lost in knowing what to do in this relationship. I try to keep focused on the fact that I am the mother and you are the adult child. I believe that I must keep that foremost in my mind. You are not to take care of me emotionally. You are definitely not to fix me. I must take the responsibility for that. I think I am the one who must take the lead in securing and maintaining trust between us. Sometimes, though, I just do not know how to be in this relationship. I do not know what to do. I am often lost inside our relationship which has been not dead, but rather in a state of dormancy for decades.

You belong in your family. As a member of your family, you grew up with them and have spent years together. You have secured bonds and have had much time for love to flourish between you and your mother and father and all of the rest of your family.

You are also, by nature, a member of my family. And in my family there is a place that only you can fill. It can only be claimed by you and claimed only if you choose. And even though we have our renewed relationship, I don't always know what you want from me or might need from me and I can easily lose my sense of knowing what to do.

I know that I want to step over my fears each day. I want to swim away from being in the middle of the losses. I want our interactions and relationship to draw not from a lake of losses, but instead from that spring of love that broke through on the day that I learned of your conception.

My gut says that you need to see a reflection of yourself in me. And that I simply need to love you and to accept you as the unique and wonderful adult human being that you are. And to love the man you continue to become. But, you see, I really always don't know how to do that very well. I would love to hear better from you what you want from me. And I wonder if you really don't know yourself yet what you might want or need from me; and if ever you do know, perhaps would not be able to tell me.

So, the most pressing question about you for me on a daily basis is this: What do I do with these bursts of energy that emerge from within me that are meant for you. Yes, I have other chidren still growing who do need me on a daily basis. I suppose that I could direct this energy into them; but it feels to me like this energy is really meant for just you. And you know what? I want that energy to be used solely for you.

Yet, you are grown and do not need a mother to quiz you on weekly spelling words; to prod you into asking your homecoming date the color of her dress and to make sure that her corsage is ordered. You do not need a parent to help you pack for your overnight school camping trip next week; nor to listen carefully as you ponder a declaration of college major/minors.

I suppose I will just continue to do what I am doing. We seem to be building up a good relationship between us in real time; the present time. It continues to feel more solid under my feet as more time passes. I continue to feel my way along the walls of this reunion maze. I think I read this very fitting analogy once...on some days, the maze is a fun house because when I walk face first into a glass wall I am able laugh at myself and laugh with you, too, because we are walking together. And we do laugh together,often. Sometimes it is more a house of horrors maze for me because either I choose to stay behind, or I sometimes get stuck, while you walk on ahead of me. I am trapped there staring and pondering for too long the distortions I see displayed in a magnifying mirror. I am simply stranded there until I regain movement and I am able to catch up with you, again. Only then, can we both keep moving along.

I will continue to travel to see you when I can. You don't seem to mind my visits and it seems that you may even prefer that I, for now, be the one to travel to see you. I will try to talk more frequently. Fear still takes me over and I don't make the effort to call. And the relationship does seem to have taken a hit or two after too much time passes without a telephone call.

Mothering energy can, of course, be used either to nurture or to smother any still growing or adult child. What to I do with it? How do I use it for good? What do I do with all of this energy that seems to exist just for you? I think I will have to bring another project out of storage. I have just the right fabrics stored along side the sketches you helped me draw for your next quilt. And I will get started on it. That would be a very good use of this swirling energy.

And as each new day comes, I will pray for you and I will send many good thoughts to you. And when I am working on your new quilt, many little prayers will be prayed for you as I stitch and piece. I can pray and pray...for you; this I can do. I think that you and each of my sons; the ones grown and not quite yet grown, whether they know it or not and whether they can ask it of me or not, really do need me to do that for them.

And I ask that you and each one of my sons might send a little prayer or good thought out for me when each new day has come.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The anniversary of 9/11 is tomorrow. Five years. Everyone has their memories of what they were doing when they learned of the horrific terror that poured into the center of Manhattan and spread throughout our country.

With all respect to the victims and their families who live daily with loss of their beloved, I do not know their loss. I do not live each day in their skins, bearing the scars of that day.

I am also thinking about tomorrow in the context of my own life and my loss of a child to adoption. I would like to reach out to each of my children to again tell them how precious and wonderful they are to me and how grateful I am that they are present in my life.

It requires some stepping over fear for me as it is not an official day to express love and gratitude, complete with traditional giving of cards and presents. I am afraid that they might think me silly, overly sentimental and too emotional.

Isn't fear, by most people's definitions, at the heart of terrorism? And to me it follows that if I operate out of fear; I only lose.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Putting Together Pieces, Again

I just came back from two days visiting with my son and it is time for me to do some more piecing. It is time put my head and my heart back together. Again.

We have been reunited for five years and this has been the recurring pattern for me after I have been able to spend some time with him. I suppose most people would call it "processing." It is that, definitely. I have to go through the process of putting myself back together. And I will do it.

However, I have to say that the edges of these pieces of me are fraying from the continuous mind and heart erosion that is the aftermath of surrender and adoption. For me, much of the work that goes along with reunion with my son is tedious, frustrating and headache inducing. It is a little like when I am trying to do some work with my old sewing machine and the thread tension keeps shifting. This results in the pull and tug of the upper and lower stitches; chaos and breakage. To fix this, I must do alot of ripping out of threads and then some repiecing. Sometimes, when using my old machine, the needle veers off to the side; breaking as metal hits metal. Then, the fabric gets caught up in the feeder feet and pulled down into the machine where it is torn apart. Needle and fabric; both ruined.

Not all is lost. Hope reigns because I can trash the torn fabric pieces and begin again with new pieces. I can rewind the bobbin and start over. Or I can choose to take my new machine out of the shipping box, read the directions, and learn to use it so I move on to tension free piecing and creativity.

I see that with the surrender and adoption of my son there is no starting over; no rewind of the thread bobbin. The tension dial will often shift in our relationship. I have sometimes pulled back. When I have pulled back, I believe it has been out of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of feeling more discomfort and pain. And my thinking gets caught in the grinding feeder feet of my head and I have to work at yanking out the negative thoughts.

When my son is sometimes silent for weeks and weeks, my head overwinds faster than my sewing machine. I wonder, "Is he processing, too? Or just simply busy with his life? Or both?" I cannot start over in reunion with new materials. I cannot rewind 30 years. Oh, yes, I can change myself some; my focus and attitudes; but I am me. And most certainly am not perfect. And there is my wonderful, irreplaceable son.

I really don't know though how much more ripping and reworking of the seams of our relationship I can do. There is no new sewing machine programmed with a stitching pattern that can fix for me the consequences of the surrender and adoption of my son. You know that standard line in most parenting books that says new babies don't come with a directions manual; but read this book to help you prepare anyways? Well, our adult children don't arrive back in our lives with a reunion manual attached, either. Reunion preparation can help tremendously, and preparation for meeting my son face to face helped me alot.

Most importantly, I am learning to trust my instincts in building a relationship with my son. Trusting my gut has been good and positive in building our relationship. However, reunion relationships are complex and I do get sidetracked and confused and have to look again for a point of reference or focus.

There is one premise of which I am certain to which I always find my way back when I am caught up in trying to have the loss of my son make sense. I believe that here is an indestructable bond between a mother and the child she bears. It is physical, emotional and spiritual. I think that this bond can be stretched to capacity, frayed, damaged and distorted to the point of unrecognizability. It can be stretched to a thread so thin that neither mother nor child may sense its presence; but I believe that it cannot be ever broken. Man-made law cannot void natural law. Time is relative, I believe, and decades of separation cannot totally obliterate the mother and child bond.

I am so grateful that my son is able to let me into his life at this point. On the other hand, getting to know him now as an adult is bittersweet. For all the first time joys I experience with him; a first time to the beach, a first time playing a board game; a first time hearing him sing; there is a slap in the face of the reality of all the times lost. For me as a mother who in an obtuse relationship with a son which is called reunion, I have joy and pain. I do have both joy and pain in my relationships with my other children, of course. However the pain caused by surrender seems to be more contorted and unnatural; the oscillations more erratic.

I must state emphatically that my son does not cause me pain. His existence, his being brings to me the same great joy that I have in the existence of my other sons. It is surrender and the decades of separation and the numerous consequences of that separation that causes pain.

So, I am back from traveling to see my son. It was joyous time spent together. Good, funfilled memories are being made. However, I am back to my house and it is time to put my head and heart back together. I need to do some good self care. Eat well and sleep more. Play more. Take more time for quiet meditation. I need to take really good care of myself while I take what time I need in order to put my head and heart back together. Again.

Always, there is hope. After I catch up on some sleep and do all those just back from being away from the house chores, I will be able to think through the events of these good days spent together. I will be able to process my thoughts and feelings; piece my head and heart back together.

This time, as I sort through these pieces of my head and heart, I am going to be watchful for any I clutch tightly that look to be woven from fear. Those pieces that smell a even a little like fear, I will need to trash.

Most importantly, I will search through these messy piles I've carried back with me and find the pieces of my head and heart that look most like they will fit together. Many appear to be woven of hope, respect and trust. That is a good start. And the largest pieces, the ones that seem to fit best in the middle of my head and heart, if I look closely, are most definitely cut from love.