Saturday, May 5, 2012

Reel to Reel

Sometimes I see speculation online about natural mothers and how we feel. Others speak for us. They make assumptions about what we're thinking. They certainly make assumptions about what kind of people we are and it's usually based on someone they knew who adopted and "their" mother feels this or that. Sometimes people speak for us out of sheer meanness but sometimes it's just because they don't know or understand the position we're coming from. The public has been fed a line about us for so long and many of us were in the closet for so many years that there was no way any other perception could have developed. If we're not there to tell people the truth, how are they going to know?

As a mother from a closed adoption, the emotion can be so devastating and overwhelming that it can be hard to explain. It's a lifetime happening whether there's a reunion or not. For most of us it's not something that we move on from or get over. For me it's like a constant reel of questions that keeps playing in a loop over and over again. There are actually 2 reels. The pre-reunion reel and the post-reunion reel.

What are these questions and what do natural mothers worry about? I don't know about you or anyone else but this is my list. For those who have not been in these shoes, try to imagine all the emotion that goes along with questions like these.

Before reunion: 
Where is my child?
Is she alive?
How is she? Is she ok?
Is she being treated well by the people who are raising her?
Did they tell her she's adopted?
Does she wonder about me?
Does she like school? Did she go to college?
What color hair and eyes does she have?
Does she live near me or did they move out of state?
Could that child I saw this morning be my daughter?
Would people think I was weird if I asked about their child's birthday?
How does dealing with this affect the children I'm raising?
When do I tell my other children about their sister?
What about the rest of the family, when do I tell them?
How is this going to impact them?
How is it going to impact my relationship with them?
Is the trauma of my firstborn's birthday causing pain for my hubby or my raised children?
How do I get through the day at work on my child's birthday without falling apart?
Are they worried about me?
How do I hide this pain?
How do I duck out of conversations about adoption without giving myself away?
How do I deal with the family who did not welcome my firstborn when they're so excited about my second born and third born?
Who do I tell?
Why do I have to keep saying I have 2 children when I really have 3?
How do I cry without anyone seeing?
How do I get through another Mother's Day?
How do I get through her birthday year after year?
When should I start looking for her?
What will she think of me when I find her?
Is she looking for me?
Will she even want to see me?
Does she have siblings?
Will she be excited to find out she has a brother and sister?
Is she opening Christmas presents right now just like her brother and sister?
What is her other family like?
Is she happy?

After reunion:
What is she thinking?
Am I going to fall apart in the airport?
Is she going to like me?
Is she as excited about meeting as I am?
What will her adoptive family think?
How do I deal with this new role of mother to a daughter I haven't seen in 22 years?
How do I jump into being grandma to two little ones I've never met?
I'm her mother but at the same time I'm not. Where do I draw the line in this new relationship?
Do I act the same way with her that I do with my other two children?
Do we take it slow and just develop a friendship first?
What is she thinking?
How do I endure her adoptive mother when she's overly critical of my daughter?
How do I deal with things that are done that I strongly disagree with?
How do I get close when we live so far apart?
What is she thinking?
Why haven't I heard from her?
Why did she sound different on the last phone call?
Did I say something on the blog that bothered her?
Could I lose her again?
How could I endure that?
How would she feel if I started a blog about adoption?
Sometimes I'm talking about us on the blog, will that bother her?
Did I overwhelm her with my own emotion when we met?
Am I putting too much pressure on her?
What is she thinking?
If I back off will she think I don't care?
How do I deal with close family members who adopted a newborn and are shopping for another?
How do I deal with family who, when I tell the truth about adoption, tell me that what I say is total crap?
How do I now deal with this new feeling of loss when I see the entire childhood I missed?
How does she really feel?
Why didn't she answer the text message?
How long before we see each other again?
Am I just being paranoid?
Am I over-thinking?

Being a mother can be overwhelming at times when you actually get to raise the child. Imagine being a mother who had a child taken away at birth. Imagine what it would be like if your child were kidnapped. That's what it feels like - a kidnapping. There is no end in sight. The questions are always there no matter what is going on, no matter how many other children are born, no matter how happy a life may appear on the surface. Open or closed adoption, makes no difference. The open could close at any time resulting in another kidnapping.

This is the life of one natural mother.


  1. Wow - you really put into words exactly what it feels like to be a natural mother. It was like reading a transcript of my own thoughts! Although I never had the issues with Mother's day pre-reunion because I couldn't think of myself as a mother. Thank you!

    1. You're welcome Eileen. I figured there would be other mothers out there who could relate.

    2. We can definitely relate, Carlynne. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel. (((hugs)))

  2. I want to, but really can't imagine, having not experienced. I am so very sorry that you and other mothers had to endure this and even sorrier that it still continues.

  3. this pretty much sums it up....thanks, Carlynne.