March 23, 2015

When People Desperately NEED You to Say Adoption is Beautiful

I had a friend.

The loss of the friendship makes me sad and at the same time, not so.

Reason being: I believe in living in reality. 

Photo Credit:
Is friendship worth it if it requires you to depart from reality?

My ex-friend, Linda*, is adopted.

Linda has often remarked that she's, "sooooo glad she was adopted." Emphasis on the word was. She doesn't consider herself an "adoptee" and bristles at the word. Although adoptee is the proper term for anyone who is adopted, never mind the facts.

She does not see the loss and grief side of adoption -- for any adoptee, not just herself -- and believes there is no need for reform nor equal rights for adoptees.

I can handle being friends with someone who believes the polar opposite of what I do about something, but not to the degree where they dismiss me, or try to silence me on the issue. 

Part of Linda's jubilation about adoption is that her first family by and large are not Christians, and by being adopted, she ended up not only being raised by Christians, but by a pastor and his wife. She speaks often of the spiritual heritage she would not have had without adoption.

For all the spiritual heritage she received and the emphasis on "truth" that we are raised in Christianity believe is so important -- it was interesting to me how unimportant living in truth became to her, once reunited. She  reunited with her natural family in middle age, after they sought her and found her. She would never have searched, being so steeped in what is known as adoption loyalty. Once her first family found her and requested a reunion, she agreed but it had to be kept a secret from her adoptive parents. To this day, as far as I know, her adoptive parents have no idea she is reunited. Evidently "the truth" would hurt them too much.  Never mind that the God they serve could help them...

Over the past few years that I've been writing about adoption and sharing a desire for equal rights and reform, Linda and I grew apart. She could not accept my views on this issue. I shared with her that she had as much right to share her story and her view as I do mine -- that neither should be prevented from sharing openly. But it became clear over time, sharing my view as I do here on this blog and around other mutual friends was not something acceptable to her. Especially because some of those mutual friends were listening closely, and share my views.

So often I'd remark to my husband Larry that Linda was "the poster child for post adoption issues" though she found the term "post adoption issues", puzzling, and laughable -- particularly for an adult.

Last spring, it finally hit me why my Linda was especially vehemently opposed to my emergence from the fog and subsequent sharing about it.

It was an absolute epiphany when I put more than just two and two together and realized that she is not only an adoptee...she is a first mother. (A birth mother as some more commonly say, although I choose to use other terminology.) So in other words, there is a double whammy here. She is an adoptee, AND a first mom.

I came to this realization after putting bits and pieces of many conversations together that I had with Linda, her husband, children and much more.

So much makes sense now.

She NEEDS all of this to be nothing beautiful. To find it as anything but unicorns and rainbows would send her emotional house of cards tumbling that she so carefully stacked, just to survive all these years.

Even all the many facebook posts underscoring over and over and over again ad nauseum that she is, "the mother to three amazing children," make sense now. I am not sure if it's to convince others as much as it is to continue convincing herself that she only has three children when she really has four.

Linda is like so many others in our lives who by their personal experience desperately need us to say that adoption as a whole is nothing but beautiful. That there is no downside, or need for change.

Because to say otherwise is to topple their carefully emotionally crafted world where they don't have to face reality.

Whether it's the pain of relinquishing a child...

Or having been the child relinquished...

Or dealing with infertility for umpteen years before adopting...

There are people whose painful life experiences are submerged  and it is required for those who surround them to either say everything is beautiful or shut up, so as to not topple their carefully constructed world.

It didn't make sense to me for the longest time as to why Linda desperately needed me to say everything was bliss or shut up.

But now I know why.

For me to share any story otherwise was to open up an emotional Pandora's box. In doing so, the tape that runs in her mind of her sacrificial gift of the  little boy or girl that was relinquished back in the 80's would take on an entirely different spin than she is ready for. Than she may ever be ready for.

And I'm not willing to go back into a fog. 
I'm not willing to be quiet.

 Sometimes people desperately need us to call beautiful what is broken, so they can continue holding their fragments together as long as they can.

Your losses can really rack up in the friendship department when you are simply done with living fake and calling what desperately needs to be fixed nothing but beautiful.  

*not her real name