"I don't believe it is my secret to tell"

We haven't met, and it seems unlikely that we will. I am your older sister, born in 1972 and given up for adoption. Our parents were unmarried teenagers at the time and felt unable and unprepared to raise a child. I was with them for one week in hospital before they went through with their plan to have me adopted and I was moved into foster care. They married six years later and went on to have you both. Less than five miles separated our homes as we grew up, and even now I live less than an hour away from you.

Read the rest of this letter at The Guardian, series: A letter to...

 A letter to … my secret siblings


This one IS all about you

I wrote my last two posts to put my experience out there for people to read.

I'm using this post to defend myself in writing them.

Seems some have taken issue with what I wrote, as if what I'd written was to them, at them, or about them.

It wasn't.

For the record, again, I did not experience postpartum depression. Not a smidgeon.

I would be one of those fortunate females who did feel an instant bond with my son, possibly even prenatally, hell, maybe even pre-conception. Being a mother came very naturally to me and my desire to be a good one has been the driving force in my life since conception but because it was/is this way for me doesn't mean it must be like that for everyone else. To say so would be insulting, to believe it's so would be ignorant.

Upon getting pregnant, the nutritional value in every morsel of food I ate was considered and not one prescribed or over the counter drug was ingested. Prior to pregnancy, parenting choices such as circumcision and corporal punishment were discussed, kinds of schooling were considered, parenting style agreements were reached. I took becoming a parent very seriously, joyfully, excitedly, and oh so willingly.

The bond my son and I have is unbreakable, unmatchable, and enviable to some. The respect, trust and familiarity we enjoy is such a pleasure and worth every ounce of thought, consideration, and energy that's gone into developing our relationship. To this day I still carefully consider how to conduct myself as a mother of a young adult son. Being a good parent is ever evolving, ever selfless, best performed without ego, without preconceived ideas or fantasies, and without bitterness toward our own childhoods. Remembering how one felt as a child is essential to effective parenting but is entirely different than being dictated to by it. And don't even bother to try and convince me it would be the same way had I put no thought and effort into being a mom, that the act of giving birth in itself would have been enough. I have first hand experience with that alternative.

My son is not the only person with whom I have a strong connection and meaningful relationship with. I have life long relationships with friends and I am regularly in touch with and close to my mother, my sister, and many uncles, aunts, and cousins. I enjoyed very close relationships with both my father and my brother, both of whom are now deceased.

I have a very loving and well cared for relationship with my husband, and my son and I are fortunate to have been welcomed with open arms into his family. My husband and I have a blended family which has successfully avoided the common step family pitfalls with our sons. These fine young men are friends as well as step brothers, and the five of us have managed family get togethers such as weddings and birthdays with my husband's and my ex family members, including ex spouses, with class and grace, much of which is a direct result of how I personally have chosen to conduct myself and treat others.

Nope, you won't get away with calling this woman, by name in public, someone "with deep issues" who doesn't feel connections to her family. You will not get away with claiming I have a "very sad little life" and declare falsely and publicly that since I don't "know how to form bonds with people proves the PW case tenfold." You will not get away with turning a post about my experience into a slight against you.

Even in my most narcissistic, paranoid, egotistical moments I would never publicly declare a post was about me, unless of course my name was blatantly used in follow up commentary and words from my post quoted, misconstrued, distorted, and given false, conjured up meaning.

The idea to use "Husha husha, we all fall down" as my last post's title came from the last words in my last sentence in which I said, "Conceiving and giving birth has no real power without all the rest and I really think choosing to believe or rely on it having so much stand alone importance is sometimes where we all fall down.".

The thought of using the title, "Husha husha, we all fall down" to call anyone infantile never crossed my mind, although the adjective "infantile" certainly figured prominently in my mind as I read the crap written in the post and comments I'm referring to here.

My posts weren't written with intent "to mock those who express their view of connection as childish, and that all would be well if we would stop singing rhymes and clinging to babyish ideas". What an incredible, self absorbed stretch.

To close, I would like to provide you all with an edited version of a sentence written by my detractor, edited to remove the words "some immediate bond for her newborn infant" and replaced with "didn't,".

It's an interesting sentence in which contradiction is obvious, the applicability to the writer and her supporters amusing, as well as, coincidentally, perfectly in line with my case against some primal wound sufferers and how they dismiss those of us who didn't experience one.

"But to say that you had it and your experience is the norm and that if another woman didn't, SHE had pathology? That's projecting a bunch of weird onto others."

I couldn't have said it any better myself.

P.S.  Don't fuck with me.


Husha husha, we all fall down.

Well, I called. I only hmm'd and hawed for a couple of seconds and then just did it.

Bio mom answered and we talked for quite a while. Seems my last email to her was on the short side and she'd decided to wait to mail me back until I'd sent something more substantial. Not really knowing her it would be hard to say for sure, but I got the feeling her nose was a little out of joint. In her defense, seems she hadn't gotten around to reading the second short mail I'd sent asking her to please mail me because I was a little worried. In my own defense, I thought it was her that was due to reply with a longer mail, not me. And so it goes.

We actually talked for quite a while and the conversation was pleasant. I couldn't help but think about other parents and adoptees as I carefully chose my words, making quick decisions about what I should and shouldn't say in conversation, and how easy it would be to mess it all up.

Oh crap, did what I just say sound like I was judging her kids? Damn, did I just talk too much about myself? Uh oh, did I just make myself sound like an alcoholic? Oh no, does she think I'm a whiny bitch for complaining about my sister-in-law?

Prior to calling I had a most excellent visit on an outdoor patio with my oldest and dearest friend. The conversation flowed, words were spoken without fear, intimate details of our lives were exchanged with complete trust in one another. There would be no judgement, no betrayal of things said in confidence, no need to weigh every word prior to uttering them out of fear of offending each other. That's the way things are when you really know someone, have concrete history with them, and have nurtured a relationship for 40 years.

When we adoptees meet our biological people, we are doing just that. Meeting them. There is no mystical or automatic relationship, no instantaneous knowledge of each others' way of thinking or doing things by virtue of being genetically related.

I think sometimes we're all led down a garden path when it comes to genes and biological connections and get set up for disappointment and failure. Parents and their children have unrealistic expectations of what things should be like, and I don't just mean those of us who are in adoption situations.

Healthy, trusting familial relationships take dedication, time, and commitment, by both parties.

Of course in the beginning it's up to the parent, the adult, to do all the work but that's where the stage is set. It's not set prenatally by a mysterious primal connection, it's developed gradually through consistency and trust, familiarity and shared experiences.

Conceiving and giving birth has no real power without all the rest and I really think choosing to believe or rely on it having so much stand alone importance is sometimes where we all fall down.


Double the mum, double the weirdness

Today I start the day worrying about two women, both of whom are my mothers, one whose house key is on my key chain, the other I hesitate to call.

It's been longer than normal since I've heard via email from my bio mom. I've mailed twice this week to ask if all is well and to say it's difficult not to worry something is wrong, could she just send a quick note to say she's ok. Having experienced sudden death of loved ones twice, I know shit happens. I wait for it to happen.

Last night I received a call from an old family friend of my parents. It had been so long since I'd talked to her that she started out the conversation with, "you likely don't remember me". Of course I do remember, although I was very surprised to hear from her.

She called because she was worried something was wrong with my mom and just wanted to check in with me to see if my mom was starting to experience dementia or was perhaps over medicating herself. That the last few times they'd talked my mom hadn't seemed herself some of the time, repeating herself and forgetting previous conversations.

I really appreciated the call and we had a good talk. It wasn't the old friend's intent to worry me and although I was truly thankful for the call, it was striking to be contacted out of the blue and hear an old friend's perception of my mom's behavior. In a way it felt validating, but in another it felt a little ominous.

If something has happened to my bio mom, it will be strange. I barely know her, her family knows nothing of me. To date she's not told me who my bio father is which is something I want to know. I'd have decisions to make regarding revealing myself, an action I cannot take lightly.

I foresee looming decisions to make regarding my mom and her care and well being. I can't help but wonder how the future will play out, or if the future is now.

Strange times these.