26 Feb

I wasn’t going to talk about this but while editing another post for the umpteenth time and it’s still not right, it struck me that I am in one of those times where both regular and adopted grief and loss is happening, to me, now.  There’s a reason why I’ve been less personal lately…and I never expected it…

I’m in the process of becoming the parent to mom, I expected it because I believe in genetics and that’s what happened with grandma.  It’s been happening to mom bit by bit for a while, but now, it’s in a new phase.  I’m fine (there’s that word again) with taking this on, happy to in fact, but it’s hard, harder than I remember it being on mom when she did that for grandma.  I’m not talking about physically demanding, or even the emotions watching her become less of who she was, because I know what to expect, and it’s part of life that must be expected, and accepted.  I’m so thankful she’s been so good both mentally and physically for far longer than most ever will.

What’s hard is that I’m so very different from mom, and I can see I’m not meeting the expectations of what her daughter would be like, and doing at this point if I’d been biological, like she was with her mom, sameness, if that makes any sense.  Perhaps a final grieving of not being able to have children, regret for what wasn’t, showing through.  Little things said that I know would never have been said when the filter was on, and they sting because I can’t be anyone but me, yet logically, I know, any child they had could have turned out to be more like dad than mom.  I also know that those feelings seeping through, take nothing away from her love for me, or that I am her daughter, so no worries on that aspect, it’s all good.

Intersecting those feelings is what is harder to talk about, that I missed any part of my mother’s life, because I was adopted – that sounds very selfish, and it brings forth feelings of guilt in both directions, and yet, I can’t do anything about it, those feelings are very real, triggered by what’s happening to mom, knowing that in the not so distant future mom won’t be here either.  So, I’m there for mom, but not in the way she’d prefer me to be because I’m not like her, and, it’s also reminding me that I wasn’t in time for my mother, and the guilt of the should have, could have tried harder in searching, or pushing for some type of contact sooner, regardless if I was successful or not.  Oh those should have, could have, would have feelings, they can play some serious mind games on your soul, who knew that would be triggered by what mom is going through.  Perhaps it’s simply a good reminder to be there for mom.

So, at the end of the this rambling, all I know is that I’m trying my best to be there for mom like she’s always been there for me.  I also don’t want any regrets looking back and am able to make sure that doesn’t happen.  At the end of the day it will have to be enough.  Why does being adopted have to be so complicated?


Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , ,

10 responses to “Realization…

  1. momsomniac

    February 26, 2015 at 10:45 pm



  2. eagoodlife

    February 27, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Very hard to do without regrets. I am the rambling Mum trying to do my best to make life less hard for my daughter who I know finds it so difficult to watch me gradually slide into disability and illness. I know she’ll be there for me just as I’ll try to be there for her in some way to the end.


  3. yan

    February 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Regrets are mean voices in our heads, but it really sounds as though you’re doing your best to make sure you have none right now.
    Lots of warm and supportive thoughts for what would be a hard time even without the complications of adoption.

    [Relatedly, my (a)mother was her mother’s caretaker, too, and, to her own mother’s dismay, was the child who’d been most like her father. So, you’re right that it happens within genetically linked families, too. Maybe knowing your end is coming makes all the disappointments in life rise up?]


    • TAO

      February 27, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I don’t know Yan – we’ve always been a family that didn’t pretty things up, just reality, and I appreciate that in our family and wouldn’t change it, even if it stings a time or two. We’ve talked before about it, and I think the world did lose out not having their bio line continue. I understand their loss more than most…thanks.


  4. L4R

    February 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I know adoption adds layers to things.

    But, when I read your post, I thought of a few things my biological mother said. She had been her mother’s caregiver. And, she said something like “when my mom wasn’t my mom.” My first thought was of the moving Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Her mother had changed into someone else. Someone a bit different from the woman she was before. Her mother said and did things that were out of character. These things hurt my mother.

    Your mother may be saying things now that aren’t connected to the person she was. It may not just be unfiltered talk. She may now be saying things that she never believed in the past.

    You’re there for your mother. You’re there for her in the way you can be.


    • TAO

      February 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      You’re so right L4R and thank you for pointing that out, I’d forgotten how the brain can change by what’s happening to it. Thank you.


  5. iwishiwasadopted

    February 28, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Neither my adoptive, nor my birth mother was a caregiver for their mothers. Both of their mothers dies at the same age 68.

    My adoptive mother lives with my family, in a separate apartment, in my house. She is very much a part of our lives. We eat dinner together every night. She pays us well for her place. She is 85, and still in good health and of sound mind.

    I don’t really like to touch her. i don’t think i would be able to care for her physically. We have a complicated relationship. I don’t think that I love her, but i probably do. She has always been in my corner.

    I just can’t forgive her for adopting me. I can’t forgive her for thinking that she deserved to call herself my mother. I never though she had the right, but there was nothing i could do about it. I needed her for my very survival.

    My own mother wasn’t going to care for me, and E was willing to do it. Being so vulnerable, so needy to strangers hurt my pride.

    I left home at 19, and married young. I had 4 children and my house needed work. I wanted my children to have the life i wanted, so I asked my adoptive mother to move in with us, 18 years ago. My adoptive father was dead, and E was alone. She doesn’t drive. She agreed to invest in expanding our house. Bedrooms for all 4 children, plus an apartment for her.

    Now she’s with us. the last child is graduating from high school.

    Seeing E everyday is torture for me. She reminds me of the family i lost. I want to sell our place,and move, but what about E? Where would she go? Plus it would cost more. E’s money helps. Hubby doesn’t want to move. The kids don’t want us to sell the family home.


  6. Paige Adams Strickland

    March 1, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Hugs…Aging parents is hard. It sux on many levels. My mom, (a-mom, technically), is pretty good mentally. It’s her body that’s challenging. She knows it too. I never measure up to her expectations. The whole situation makes me feel like a lousy care giver. I don’t get her grocery list exactly right. I mess up something in the wash. Her shirt has too many wrinkles, etc. I can’t win. All I can do is do and keep doing so as to avoid major regrets later. In the meantime I am set up to fail, which drives me nuts. Take care.


    • TAO

      March 3, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Sorry – I was going to respond – measuring up – I really think this is a reality for many in adoption, or at least more so than biological families. The odds are stacked against us…it’s a no-win situation for sure…


  7. Tiffany

    March 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    So many hugs. Having witnessed both my grandmothers fall victim to Alzheimer’s and dementia, I can say unequivocally that when the mind travels away from the body and soul, words are spoken that are half truths or non-truths or pieces from the past mixed with the present or responses to the tv show or conversation from a decade ago suddenly restarted in the middle. It’s truly heartbreaking. But for me, as a child, my mom told me to hold to my memories of the grandmas who loved me and cared for me, and to have love for these strangers now living in the bodies I once knew so well.

    Here and there, tiny bits of the grandmas I remembered would show through, and those are the bits I hold on to today. The “I love you, too, honey” spoken with startling clarity by my Grandma W the last time I saw her; for a second, I know she recognized me in that brief moment of my “I love you, Grandma,” and her reply. It didn’t last long, but I saw it long enough to feel it’s warmth and comfort. The way my Grandma B clung to the stuffed bear of my own that I gave her to keep her company; she was buried with “Panda,” as she named him, when she died. Amongst the many things she was given during the years of her illness, nothing meant as much to her as the bear I had handed to her with a kiss and a hug, and I believe that’s because some part of my grandma was still there, and recognized me.

    Hold tight to the pieces of your mom that fit the puzzle of who you knew her to be your whole life. Those are the true reflection of woman you love, a true portrait of her heart. The rest, well, it is a sad and heartrending fallout of the illnesses that rob our loved ones from full peace during the last years of a loved one’s life. I lost a great grandmother to cancer and a grandpa to a heart attack, and that was far easier than losing two grandmas to the dark recesses of an illness that took their minds and souls and left almost nothing to recognize. When my Grandma B was first falling ill, she would have moments of dementia interspersed with moments of clarity, and she would become so upset and anxious about how much she was hurting those she loved, and what a burden she was. She apologized profusely for her confusion, for words spoken that she couldn’t control or help or understand. My heart broke for her, and I was so angry at that illness robbing her of the dignity and grace she had carried her whole life, but I tried hard to do as my mom said, and take the pieces I knew of her and love the stranger in her place.

    I hope you are able to find peace with all this… I can only imagine how hard it must be.



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