Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Adoption Blogger Interview Project - From Another Mother

For the record, I am a terrible blogger.  I have great intentions, but I get busy living and then completely blow off the blog.

Despite my on again off again blog presence, one thing I really love about adoption blogging is the annual Adoption Blogger Interview Project that is sponsored by Heather at Open Adoption Bloggers.  It gives me a chance to learn about another person in the adoption world, and I love reading all of the interviews that others do too.

So, in classic Lisa style, I was late submitting questions to my interviewee Valerie who blogs at From Another Mother.  In the same way that it seems she lives her life, Valerie was full of grace and very kind to me and my apparent lack of deadlines.  Just like today when I was supposed to have this post up and ready for a morning deadline to post with the rest of our blogger group.  Oops.

Valerie holds titles from two of the three positions in the adoption triad.  She is an adoptee and a birthmother.  I am always intrigued by adoptees who place children and I am glad I had the opportunity to ask her questions that I have often wondered.

I appreciate Valerie's perspective and the way she has handled her relationship with her first families is commendable.  She is very non-judgmental in her approach to being practically rejected by her birthmother but warmly accepted and included by her birthfather and his entire family.

Without further ado...

Describe your current relationship with your son?  How often do you speak to him, see him and/or communicate with him?I would say that our connection is similar to the one that I have with other long-distance relatives. We do not talk very often, although I keep up with his parents on Facebook. But the line is open--I know that if I wanted to talk/email them, I could. And they know (I hope!) that if they wanted to talk with me or had questions for me, that my proverbial door is wide open. The moments when we do connect are AWESOME. Like, back in September when my husband and I announced that we are expecting, I got an audio recording of Ian's dad telling him, and Ian's reaction to our news. Ian was so stinkin' cute, and getting that little recording made me immensely happy.

If you had the ability to create the 'ideal' open adoption relationship with your son, what would it look like?
The challenge in my situation is distance--my son lives over 2,000 miles away. Last year, I was fortunate enough to visit Ian and his family for his birthday. I stayed in their home for several days, and even went with them to Ian's [adoptive] grandparents' home to stay overnight. I fell in love with their whole family (all over again, in the case of Ian's parents, whom I had felt so close to during my pregnancy).
I guess in my mind, my "ideal" open adoption relationship would be something like that--not me staying in their house, wouldn't that be awful. But during my visit last year, I really felt a sense of family. I got to know Ian and his little brother better than I ever could, at a distance. I got to visit casually with their parents, rather than awkwardly trying to make conversation over the phone or Skype. I had the opportunity to show them my love, to the best of my ability, and to feel theirs in return, rather than just saying it. I can say, "I love you" a hundred times, and still not get anywhere close to the feeling of giving that kid a hug.
With the distance between us, visits are few and most often brief. Unfortunately, that's just life! We all have family members that we wish were closer. I am hopeful that in the future, as Ian gets older, that he and I will be able to form a relationship of our own, even if it remains a distant one.

As an adoptee in reunion with your father, do you wish your adoption situation would have been different?
Honestly? Yes and no.
On the one hand, I really wish I could have grown up knowing my birthdad and his family. They've become an integral part of my life as an adult, but I missed out on all the childhood memories that my sisters share, which I don't have. Beyond that, I wish I hadn't had all the questions, growing up. "Did my birthparents love me? Did they want me? Do they still care about me?"
However, I have to acknowledge that perhaps my situation was for the best. Though my adoption being closed had its challenges, there may have been blessings in disguise. I fought with my parents a lot while I was a teenager. I ran away from home once. I can only imagine what else might have ensued if my birthfamily had been present during that time. Would I have sought refuge with them? Would I have tried to pit my birthparents against my adoptive parents? I shudder to think about the cruelty that I might have inflicted upon my poor parents, considering the trouble I gave them already. I don't know. Mostly I'm just glad that I have been able to reunite at all, and that it has turned out so positively.

Now that you are expecting the first child that you are going to parent, do you anticipate it will change your feelings about your adoption?
I doubt it. When I placed my son, I was a different person, in a very different place. I was 19, I was single, (those were the key factors) I did not have an education, I did not have a steady job, I did not know where I was going or what I wanted out of life. I was scared, and I was ashamed.

I maintain that I could have managed. I could have parented. I was (am?) smart, I had a good support system, and I had the wherewithal to be a good mother. But I didn't base my decision to place Ian for adoption on my abilities. I based that decision on what was best for him.
I wanted Ian to have a mother and a father, who were committed to each other and to their family. I wanted him to have the stability that I wasn't able to provide for him. And if I may be a bit religious for a moment, I had a spiritual confirmation that Ian's parents were the right family for him.
Just because my life is different now, doesn't change any of those things. Ian's family is still Ian's family.

What would you like to see your parented child and your placed child's relationship look like in the future?
I hope they get to know each other. Unless the aforementioned distance changes significantly, they probably won't ever be close. In my mind, it would be like the relationship that I have with my cousins--I have cousins that I'm not super close to, but I still enjoyed hanging out with at family reunions as a kid, and now as an adult, I liked keeping up with them on Facebook. I imagine something like that.

How did your position as an adoptee in reunion influence your decision to place when you faced your unplanned pregnancy?
It was significant, particularly because I was pregnant at the time that I reunited with my birthparents.

I guess for me the biggest thing was recognizing (finally) how much I loved my parents, and what a good life they had given me. It also gave me a lot of closure to meet my birthparents, to hear from them how much they loved me, and get answers to the biggest questions I'd had, growing up in a closed adoption. I recognized at that time how adoption had benefited me, how it truly had been the right thing for me. It helped me to realize that's what I wanted for my son.

What impact has your birth mother's seeming disinterest in relationship with you had on how you interact or plan to interact with your son?
What has actually bothered me the most about the situation with my birthmother is the fact that her children, my biological siblings, do not know that I exist. So not only do I lack a relationship with her, but also with all these people that I am biologically connected to.
I don't need a close relationship with them. I don't need visits or phone calls. But it would be nice to know that if I had a question, that I could get an answer. And that is what I am determined to provide for my son. Even if he never desires a close relationship with me, I always want to be available to him when he needs me. I feel like that's part of my duty as a birthmother.
I was very glad to get to know Valerie and I look forward to finding out more about some of the other Adoption Bloggers.  I hope you take time to read more interviews too!


Heather said...

Excellent interview! Very thoughtful questions and answers. Thanks for sharing!

Valerie said...

Thank you Lisa for your kind words, and for the wonderful interview!

Anonymous said...

Your blog helps me get through my struggle with adoption , mine is alot similar to yours but also alot different. Somedays I find myself happy and other times I want to stay in bed all day and cry. Thank you for sharing your story!

sanam arzoo said...
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