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Fear…

13 May

Most of you know I came on-line after I got sick.  It was the catalyst for a huge change in my life in many ways, one of those changes was exploring my adoption, delving into the history, and how many others had similar stories, and/or feelings surrounding adoption.  I didn’t start on-line intending to focus on adoption, that came later, rather, to learn about my disease, what it meant, how others were affected, and I found an amazing group of women just like me.

That support group of women helped even out my feelings, it helped calm my fears, it provided a relatively small community.  As I gained more strength, I began to work on my ability to read, absorb, and retain what I’d read, and how to write again.  That is when I really got involved in adoption on-line.  It was a very useful tool, I learned, I also delved into the many feelings I’d continuously pushed to the back of my mind/heart.  The best part though, is the on-line friendships that I appreciate, even when I don’t answer, and go into my silent mode.  I’m still listening.

At the same time, my on-line community disease support group grew bigger everyday, too big, knowledge about the disease as well.  I struggled to read so many of the downright scary stories that they’d experienced.  It made my disease scarier.  Reading posts would cause my stress-levels to sky-rocket.  Fear based stress is harmful, so, I stopped reading, commenting, and being there for newbies.

All of that is to say is that recently there have been a series of posts over the last few months by an adoptive mom pushing back against the adoptees who are #FlippingTheScript, and raising the voices of adoptees who’ve BTDT and whose voice needs to be heard.  I’m guessing her pushback is because of fear, she doesn’t want to hear anything negative, and advises you read it once, and that’s all you need to know(?), and then, to go back to the positive that adoption is.  I get it, no one wants their child to feel what other adoptees have felt.  That’s a perfectly natural desire.  But, and you knew there would be a but, is that type of fear I experienced that could do me harm based on my condition, or is that fear – something to embrace?  That’s the question.  I say that type of fear is good fear, because it should galvanize you to learn what your child may feel at one, or many points, in their journey called life.  Or they may never feel that way.  Wouldn’t it be a whole lot better though, that the parent is aware, and prepared with knowledge, so they will pick up on any subtle clues from their child, and be able to understand why those feelings are happening?  Wouldn’t that be far better than to have your child try to sort out any of those feelings, all by themselves?

Final point, not all adopted children who have those big feelings will tell you about them, that’s your job as a parent to know when something is not quite right.  I’m sure you conquered the fear that your child may be bullied, face racism (if applicable), peer pressures that aren’t good, and all the other harms your child will be subjected too.  You learned the clues about bullying, how it presents, how it may make your child react, you did the same for every other potential harm.  You also learned what those feelings are like, how they can harm your child, how to help. Being adopted makes us susceptible to big feelings that are harmful, and hard to work through alone.  Your fear about adoption feelings, which is likely insecurity, may tell your child that you aren’t secure enough to hear those feelings, so they will travel that path alone.  That’s why adoptees speak up, why you need to hear many different voices, so you have a wealth of knowledge, and will spot the clues, if your child needs you to walk along side them.

Have a good week, and yes, I’m in a silent mood, but I’m still listening.

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17 Comments

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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17 responses to “Fear…

  1. firehouserox

    May 13, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    When I was adopted, at six years old after bring in 17 foster homes, my adoptive family never asked me about my past, nor, did they seek to find out anything through my social worker. As I grew older, they never showed any interest in whether or not I wanted to locate my siblings, either. However, when one of my natural sisters visited, after I moved out of their home, they took her to see our natural grandmother’s burial site and showed an avid interest in her….I always thought that to be so strange.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Jess

      May 14, 2015 at 3:31 am

      It could have been that the responsibility to be sensitive to you, the adopted child, and your history was too overwhelming and they simply shut down. Then, when your sister showed up, the pressure was off because you were grown up and out of the house and so they could play with the feelings and ideas that should have preoccupied them in the first place. This has happened in my own families with other issues. I am not adopted. Families are way overrated for doing things to actually love and nurture children. They are just overrated generally.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. eagoodlife

    May 13, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “Your fear about adoption feelings, which is likely insecurity, may tell your child that you aren’t secure enough to hear those feelings, so they will travel that path alone. “

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  3. eagoodlife

    May 13, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    It is so harmful to adoptees for adopters to be so blinkered. I too posted on the attitude of the adopter mentioned and found it offensive that we could all be bundled together – read one read them all attitude is very adoptist, ignorant and patronising to mention a few only! Her approach has had the effect of encouraging some new blog posts and encouraging adoptees to further support #flipthescript. Good result!

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  4. yan

    May 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I’m not reading this other woman’s posts, but her defensive posture is one I’m familiar with from my adoptive family. Fear and denial on their part means that I just keep them out of a large part of my life. Is that what adoptive parents want — their kids to “shelter” them, forever, because they can’t handle our truths? Have your happy families fantasy rather than be a full part of your kids’ lives? Adding to the trauma many of us have about never fitting in?

    Fine. That’s not what I wanted or want from my family. It’s not in my best interest. But sure, keep telling yourself that “head-in-sand” is best for your family. Your kid will hopefully be lucky enough to find people who do care enough about him to listen.

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    • TAO

      May 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Finding others has been so beneficial to me…

      Love this: “Is that what adoptive parents want — their kids to “shelter” them, forever, because they can’t handle our truths? Have your happy families fantasy rather than be a full part of your kids’ lives?”

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  5. beth62

    May 14, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    The fear is sooooo easy to see. I see it in the new amoms online all around.
    It’s not new, and it’s not old – there is no decade that this fear is kept in – it can be found in forever families forever.

    I’ve seen it in my parents eyes all of my life, that shaky ground kind of fear. I know the shaky ground fear and uncomfortableness well.
    It’s contagious I believe, and I believe I caught it from my parents very early on.

    I knew what to say – and what not to say or do to shelter them.
    (and I imagine they knew what to say and do to shelter me from it. They taught me how that works. They taught it to me.)

    Sometimes I chose/choose to say or do whatever anyway. Does that make me a terrible “kid” or adult? Nope. Just an honest open one who is no longer fearful of popping the bubble/removing the safety net/lifting the shelter/opening cans of worms/saying what I feel even if it scares everyone – and me.

    “Fear and denial on their part means that I just keep them out of a large part of my life”

    That’s what this fear did for us Yan. It’s very distancing. It sent me out seeking other influences that fit better for me at the time. I could not find what I needed at home.

    That fear is proof to me that I don’t really fit in…. but now I know it’s really more like THEY don’t fit in MY life.
    Makes it so much fun when we do try to fit in with each other. Not! It takes an effort on my part to change to fit in, my kids and hubby too. My parents are attempting to change to fit in with me more now. ‘Bout time, they are in their 80’s.

    A few years ago I was on the verge of just giving up with them, never saying another word about anything important to me ever again. (and not just “adoption” related!)

    I called my Mom a scaredy cat 🙂 (have no idea how to spell that !) and clucked like a chicken for a while around her.

    Ticked her off cause she is pretty fearless in most everything else, which makes it even more confusing to me. Helped her face her fears a bit tho! At least she can stay in the room now no matter what I talk about. Her new word is “whatever”. That’s her way of dismissing everything she doesn’t want to hear now. That’s alright tho, whatever! I am pretty sure my daughter and I taught her that 🙂 It’s how we’ve dismissed her words for a very long time to keep her from making us feel like crap. I guess “whatever” is the tool needed to fit in.

    Just the fact that that fear was so strong for her, ummmmm I am in my 50’s…
    She’d already lost most of me decades ago due to the fear all along, not to mention I live 400 miles away, have been married for 30+ years, have my own family…
    Me and mine don’t “need” my Mom and Dad in our lives now, and I haven’t since I was 16, but we want them in it and we are very very glad that they are.

    It doesn’t make much sense to me why this fear/insecurity would stick around for so long?
    Just a bad habit?

    A habit that I hope the newbies will avoid.

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  6. beth62

    May 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    “Just an honest open one who is no longer fearful of popping the bubble/removing the safety net/lifting the shelter/opening cans of worms/saying what I feel even if it scares everyone – and me.”

    quoting myself [rolls eyes]

    I’ve had people tell me I am not a real daughter for doing this!
    I’ve had them tell me I was abandoning my parents by doing this!
    was slapping them in the face for doing this,
    was being disloyal,
    was not being a loving or caring daughter
    was lucky and ungrateful for speaking of things that were very important to ME.

    My parents never spoke any of that to me – didn’t need to say things, that’s how the fear works, it speaks loudly.

    I was fed love, adaptability, fear and guilt in my secure loving forever family, and plenty of it.
    What a lovely and healthy diet that is.

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    • TAO

      May 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      No idea why your posts went to moderation Beth – just waking up – back soon.

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      • TAO

        May 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        Beth it’s a conundrum to be sure – fear is insidious and needs to be worked on. It’s kind of like living dual lives – I’m afraid so please be quiet about this – and a second later – you are bringing the Turkey for Thanksgiving right? Like a light switch….

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  7. L4R

    May 15, 2015 at 1:06 am

    My a-mom seems to have recurrent amnesia. I’ve told her the story of how I came to be available for adoption. Yet, she constantly forgets it and rewrites the story to suit her beliefs.

    And, she often asks if I plan to meet my b-dad. I’ve told her repeatedly that I do plan to meet him. In fact, I plan to move to his state. But, she conveniently forgets all of that. And, asks me the same questions over and over.

    Alzheimer’s Disease or Fearful Adoptive Mom Syndrome? I don’t know.

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  8. Jess

    May 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Quoting from article about Cree adoptee reuniting with her family in Alberta:

    “Whitford said her adoptive mother has been very supportive of her reuniting with her biological family.

    “When I came and told her before I went to meet them all, she was so happy for me, she had a big smile,” said Whitford of her mother’s reaction to the news. “She was almost in tears herself. She said ‘I’m so happy for you.”

    See more at: http://splitfeathers.blogspot.ca/2015/05/alberta-adoptee-finds-biological-family.html#sthash.5H9WRxER.dpuf

    Question: what makes some APs react spontaneously this way and others react out of fear and hostility? Is it the relationship they have to the adoptee? Is it the idea they have of parenthood and what it should be? Is the idea just too messy and complicated for some? Have my own ideas but would like to hear what others think.

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    • TAO

      May 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Jess, I think it is personality, personal strength and security in who they were, who we were as a family, that makes all the difference. I clearly remember mom telling me that they would help me search if I wanted too, because she’d would be curious if she didn’t know.

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  9. beth62

    May 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I dunno L4, maybe it’s a bit of both. We do tend to avoid, or set aside things, we don’t really want to hear or think about much. Especially if it is scary, or if part of it is just really not so very important to us personally.

    I do know from many I have watched walk into the forgetful zone – many of the fearful things in their lives get even more fearful, the fear gets bigger, unless it’s forgotten completely. The big fears and the big joys seem to be some of the last memories and feelings for those I’ve known and watched slip into the zone.

    (((L4R))) That’s does not sound fun at all for you 😦 can’t think of anything that could feel much more dismissing or diminishing – aggravating and sad.

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  10. L4R

    May 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    To clarify, my mom hasn’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I began to suspect she might have it several years ago. Since she barks at any mention of Alzheimer’s, she most certainly won’t see a doctor until things get too bad to ignore. There is something wrong. I suspect Alzheimer’s, but I’m not a doctor.

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    • TAO

      May 16, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I’m still not sure what the difference is between Alzheimer’s and just plain old-age senility. Are they the same, just different terms. Mom’s heading down the same path – she recognises others going down it, but for her, she just forgets things…sigh…

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  11. cb

    May 17, 2015 at 12:01 am

    “and advises you read it once, and that’s all you need to know”

    And the problems, do they actually hear what is actually being said or do they only hear what they want to hear? A couple of subsequent posts shows that she never got the point of what people were trying to say. She kept trying to make out that people were attacking her for raising non-biologically related children rather than the fact that people were responding (respectfully I might add) to the way she disparaged the flipthescript adoptees.

    As for the fear in general, I’ve been on a few mixed adoption forums. I’ve found that those who face their fear and actually have a conversation with those adoptees tend to find that we are not that scary at all :). Unfortunately, it is more common for others to have a conversation around the adoptees (eg “I’m scared of what those adoptees are saying” – “Don’t worry, they are angry bitter adoptees who hate their parents, they can be safely ignored” – “Phew, thanks, I’ll just ignore anyone who doesn’t agree with me from now on”)

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