And then there’s the other side of things…

As I discussed earlier, things are going along pretty smoothly with Woob’s birthmom and our contact.  (I know, give me a month and I’ll be moaning and complaining again about lack of contact or something).  But there will always I think, be a struggle a little bit on OUR side related to the openness.  Its one that’s always been there and it has changed a bit over time, but as new things come up, out pops the issue.  What I’m talking about here is the contant need for us to educate, explain, justify, defend not only our own choices and actions within this adoption, but also those of Woob’s first family.  We have countless times had to explain our choice to adopt, defend our choices related to how much contact we have with N and her family, how we choose to talk to Woob about his adoption and origins, etc.  People somehow believe that although we should talk to Woob less about adoption related things, that THEY somehow should be privy to all the nitty gritty details, AND be able to give commentary about those details.  BLECH.

What spurs this little rant of mine is conversation with my mom yesterday.  Erm…seems that I forgot to tell her that N. had another baby.  Maybe I didn’t really forget so much as avoid the topic and forget that the conversation never took place.  But can you blame me?  Its not a topic that just comes up easily, especially when you know you’re going to get the whole “OMG-anotherbaby-what-is-she-thinking-and-how-will-she-ever-take-care-of-them-who-is-the-father-and-why-isnt-she-on-birth-control-and-cant-she-just-stop….”  Its not just from my mom, but that’s what got me going yesterday.  Woob and I were telling about our visit and that Woob got to meet his new sister.  “Huh?  NEW sister?  When was she born (does the math in her head)?  But J was just born a year ago! (does more math) That means she had three babies in three years! (Bravo, mom, you can count to three!).    And this isn’t really a “oh, wow, that must be hard for her…” kind of reaction, but more of an “are you kidding me?” kind of one.  Um, and Woob in the meantime is right there in the back seat.  And later as she brings it up again while we’re at the mall, I refer to Woob’s sisters as his sisters.  “He really has no idea what that means, you know.  Everybody else who has sisters lives with theirs.”  Me:  “Yes, but if we don’t talk about it now, then he’ll NEVER understand. <sigh>”  And so it goes.   And later, when my dad was around, she says “Granpa, Woob has a new sister.  A NEW BABY SISTER.”  To which he replies, “Hm.”  He was raised to say nothing at all if he had nothing nice to say. 

Some days I feel like carrying around a card with all the answers on it:

  • Yes, it must be difficult to raise two young babies without being married/without the support of the daddy
  • Actually, she is quite smart, and continues to work towards a degree, despite lots of hardship
  • No, I don’t know/care how many guys she’s slept with/what type birth control she uses–I’ll ask her those questions if you tell me all about your total sexual history so I can pass it on to her.
  • We actually are quite fond of her/like her/enjoy knowing how she’s doing/like talking to her
  • Eh, no, she isn’t going to try to reclaim Woob.  Why would she?
  • Eh, no, she isn’t going to give us her other kids.  Why should she?
  • We/she would appreciate your prayers for health, safety, and security for her family as opposed to your criticism.  They take the same amount of time.
  • She is one of the hardest working people I know. 
  • She is one of the bravest people I know.
  • She is one of the most honest people I know.
  • She’s my son’s mother.  Have some respect.

I’m sure there are many more responses, but time is running short.  Back to convo’s with my mom.  I really feel like we have to have these conversations even when they’re hard and when I’m defensive and protective to keep slogging through it all.  But, Oh the Frustration!

And all these things cause me to hold back on our end.  Here’s the thing:  we have been welcomed into N’s life and introduced to family and friends from the beginning.  That has to be SO hard for her/them to do.  We have welcomed N and her family into our home and our immediate family, but we’ve been reluctant to pull her into our bigger family/friend circle because of the judgment, because people obviously don’t really know how to “behave” around us.  I fear for what it would be like for her if she were in their midst–would they “behave” around her?  Would they ask her stupid/embarrassing questions?  Would they ignore her for lack of anything better to do?  It saddens me that I even have to ask these questions.  It saddens me to keep her at arm’s length.  It saddens me that I’ve felt the need to distance myself from long-term friends because of things like this.  I’m sad for her, for Woob, and for us. 

But we’ll eventually work through it, probably sooner than later.  Because the last thing my mom said on the subject yesterday?  “I’d like to meet her someday.”  But we’ve got more work to do first.

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7 Comments

Filed under adoption, birthparents, growing family, motherhood, open adoption, reflection, vent

7 responses to “And then there’s the other side of things…

  1. People can be so rude sometimes. As a Birthmother, I have just learned to stay quiet most of the time.

  2. I struggle with this same problem at times in regards to my son’s birth family. I wonder if it ever gets easier…
    I love the “answers” you give-they would definitely make people really think before they speak! 🙂

  3. Coco

    No, I don’t know/care how many guys she’s slept with/what type birth control she uses–I’ll ask her those questions if you tell me all about your total sexual history so I can pass it on to her.

    This one made me LOL.

  4. Don’t think that they will ever understand…and your beautiful, open heart, with all the love in the world! is the most important thing for little Woob. I understand the frustration and the sadness… and the desire to want everyone to just get along without you having to listen extra careful to what others’s say around Woob and the families…mmmm…it’s so difficult…

    but you have Woob! and a great relationship with his birthmom…and as long as YOU are comfortable…nothing else really matters…except of course that little bundle of joy! xx

  5. This is very very very good.
    As a first mom I rarly tell anyone that I have a son.
    If they ask if I have children I say ‘no’.
    This is not because I think so, it’s because I dread the ‘so you really didn’t want him??’ type of question.
    Although as a first mom who was older when I had my son and placed him. I remember thinking some really rude things.
    I hope your mom comes around to see the truth about her attitude and decides to change.
    My mom did, the way she accepts my decision is subtle, but sure. She included my sons adoptive family in a family-only picture album. It means alot to me that she sees them as part of the family.
    I wish more people who ‘adopt’ that attitude.

  6. meredith

    We too have had such a judgemental response from close family and friends. For some reason people think they know what is right in even these issues where there is no right or wrong, only arrangements that work or don’t work for different families or situations. Then of course, when the slightest thing doesn’t work just right….”I told you so” comments. I hope and pray that this is the generation that helps educate the society on benefits of open adoption and of working together with the birth family for the benefit of the precious children they have shared with us. Hang in there!

  7. cynthia

    Great, great post- I feel for you, and think you are doing the very best you can in a suck-y situation with your extended family.

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