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Mixed messages and one more thing…

13 Nov

It’s no secret that when an adoptee writes about how wonderful their life is because of adoption, that article is the instant favorite among many adoptive parents groups.  Comments are also predictable so I won’t bother giving examples.  I will give you a couple of recent examples of the type of article I’m speaking of…

I’m Adopted And This Is The One Thing I Wish People Would Stop Saying

Her experience, her right to tell it from her point of view.  Personally, not my cup of tea, because haven’t met one person I couldn’t find something nice to say about them.  That’s as far as I’m going to go off track here. 

I Am The Product Of A Closed Adoption, And I’d Have It No Other Way

Again, her experience, although personally I’ve changed just about all the opinions I held at 28, but good for her. (h/t to Snark for the link)

What I do want to talk about – is that it seems that many adoptive parents want their child to have this same feeling about their adoption, and being adopted.  To think adoption gave them everything and they lost nothing.  At the same time, they eschew being seen as an adoptive parent, in a how dare you way, I’m just a mom.  If you feel that way, yet, cling to stories like the ones  posted above as simply beautiful – can you not see the problem of wanting your child to love being adopted, but you aren’t even comfortable, let alone love being seen as an adoptive parent.  To me, you are sending mixed messages, you need to be thrilled to have been adopted into my family, I detest the fact that I am an adoptive parent.   

I do want to touch on one more thing that both the articles have in common. 

This whole ‘real’ obsession that seems so prevalent in the adoption world, perhaps it’s because people, specifically adoptive parents, actually do not see themselves as real and they are putting this fear on their children that the world doesn’t see them as a real family.  I think mom and dad handled it right – when people used the word real, they assumed (rightly so) that they meant biological.  But then, mom and dad were, and still are perfectly fine with being called adoptive parents, heck, mom even uses the other dreaded term, adopters, without giving it a second thought, after all, that is how they formed our family.  But according to some adoptive parents today, parents from my era weren’t educated, so I guess, they didn’t know that real was code for fake instead of the logical assumption of biological. 

Just imagine how fake I’d feel as their daughter if I thought everyone didn’t recognise us as a real family, let alone tell anyone I’m adopted or that my parents are adoptive parents. 

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32 Comments

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

 

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32 responses to “Mixed messages and one more thing…

  1. Lara/Trace

    November 13, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I feel battle fatigue so bad right now

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    • TAO

      November 13, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Why I’ve not been posting or talking much, only reading some. To busy…

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  2. iwishiwasadopted

    November 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    These are very young women. Sometimes it hits you later in life. Most young people are very sure their feelings will never change.

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    • TAO

      November 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      True – I’m sure I felt that way, now I just feel old…

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  3. cb

    November 13, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Like you, it is those that encourage adoptees to feel certain ways who are the ones that I have trouble with – the adoptees are saying what they are meant to say.

    If I asked most parents what qualities they would hope that their children have as adults, I think many would say “compassion”. Yet for adoptees, apparently that compassion can’t be towards their bfamily – the more dismissive they are of their bfamily, the more well adjusted they are considered.

    I think also there is tendency to forget that an adoptee not wanting to “look back” is just a natural human reaction to their situation under the circumstances (eg for some it is the fear of the unknown, for others it is not wanting to disturb the equilibrium of the life they have, for others it may be other things) and not the “miracle of adoption”.

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    • Tiffany

      November 17, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      You took the words out of my mouth, cb. “If I asked most parents what qualities they would hope that their children have as adults, I think many would say “compassion”. Yet for adoptees, apparently that compassion can’t be towards their bfamily – the more dismissive they are of their bfamily, the more well adjusted they are considered.”

      I was very uncomfortable with how judgemental the author was of her birth mother, and if that was my daughter writing, I would disagree with much of it while also acknowledging her right to her feelings. It’s ok to feel that you are better off being adopted, and to even to feel grateful, if those emotions come purely and totally from yourself rather than outside forces. I have an adopted friend who has a very similar backstory with her birth family, and she is dispassionately appreciative of adoption providing her a better end result than would have happened growing up in her family of birth. But she doesn’t trash her birth mother. She has a lot of compassion for how situations play out, and that her birth mother is dealing with the cards she was dealt and doing the best she is capable of doing. I would not be ok with my daughter speaking of her parents in such a dismissive, almost superior, way. It just smacks of entitlement to me.

      I have a suspicion that a lot of her judgement and attitude comes from her adoptive parents. Just pure speculation, of course, but even when not outrightly disdainful of the birth parents, there can be undertones to adoptive parents statements about why an adoptee was adopted (“your mom was too young” can carry an undertone of slut shaming, for example, in a conservative home). I think it is absolutely critical for adoptive parents to not only not say outright negative things about families of origin, but to speak positively of them wherever possible. I agree with you TAO, that there is always something positive that can be found to be said. I also think she is very young, and I’d imagine she might not write this same article in 20 years. Especially if she has children of her own.

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      • TAO

        November 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm

        Tiffany – I’d guess you are right about where the judgement and attitude comes from. I tried so hard to limit myself on talking about the adoption rhetoric in the post that can be seen in the words of some today – really wondering how people can say adoption is better now than my era…we (I) was taught to be kind…

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  4. cb

    November 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Another thing I want to also point out is that a human in general said “I’m happy about my life and I wouldn’t change anything about it” – we understand that the said person is happy about where they are right now and that they feel their past experiences have gotten to them to a good place. We are also understanding of a “human in general” who is happy about their life right now but still feels sad about certain things that might have gotten them to that spot, eg “I’m happy about my life right now and am enjoying being the owner of this company but do feel sad that my parents dying in a plane crash that led me to now be in this position”. Most people understand that people can have mixed feelings and in fact we would probably think it a bit odd if they said “I don’t regret my parents being killed in a plane crash, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now”.

    Having children afterwards of course complicates things more because of course if anything had been different in one’s life, then one might have different children which, even though I am childless, I can see that that is unimaginable for most people.

    Yet the above is how many adoptees quite naturally talk about their own situations and somehow rather than it just being another “human in general” talking about their life experiences getting them to where they are now – it is all suddenly proof of adoption “working” rather than the adoptee just doing what comes natural to humans – looking back and thinking “if anything had been different, I wouldn’t be who I am” and for those with children “if anything had been different, I wouldn’t have the children I have”.

    The point of both my rambles is that when the word “adoption” enters the picture, then people start interpreting things differently. Rather than things just be natural reactions to situations, it is all due to the “miracle of adoption”. Also, we are enabling “bad behaviour” in that we encourage lack of compassion for a certain group of humans. I just think it odd that people rejoice in hearing other people being belittled at their expense – I would want to be loved in my own right,not because I’m a “better” alternative to someone who a person dislikes. I’ve said before that if we took “comparisons out of every expect of adoption” it would be greatly improved.

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    • beth62

      November 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      I can’t read this without holding back the laughter. It used to make me crazy when I heard my husband say it, and he does at every chance…probably because he knows it makes me crazy…

      Dont fret honey, it all happened because you were meant to be my wife and these kids to be my kids. If anything different would have happened it would not be. I’m glad it all happened to you, everything good and bad. So blame it on me, it will make you feel better.
      That’s his story and he’s sticking to it forever and ever.
      I’ve had many responses to this over the 3 decades we’ve been together.

      1. Aww, sure honey, love you 2

      2. Bite me, believe it or not, not everything is about you butt head.

      3. Great 4 you, kinda sucks for me, huh?!!! I could have had a better looking, kinder, more responsible, more faithful, giving, trustworthy, smarter, richer, less lazy husband if not for prior events that caused me to be in that place and time in that mindset to meet you. Not to mention how better off my kids could have been!! (don’t worry, don’t feel bad for him LOL I am being very kind, overly kind and foolish. He deserves every second of that and plus some, and he’d tell you so, as many others would as well. All of the above is part of his requested “I want to try to become human therapy”, which is aided by “cake therapy” – cake – its for all that ails you. good lord he’s beyond help LOL)

      4. If something is meant to be then it will be, regardless of prior events, we would have found each other regardless of anything.

      5. Good grief, sure, it could have been worse, absolutely possible, we’ll never know. I give up, sure, you win, it’s all about you, the planet could not revolve without you, as long as you are happy all is well in the land of us ROTFLMAO

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      • TAO

        November 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

        “cake therapy” is one of my most trusted remedies that’s guaranteed to fix anything – as long as it’s accompanied by a steaming cup of strong dark coffee…tell your husband I agree…

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        • beth62

          November 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

          Ya’ll can have anything you want here…. as long as it involves apples, lots of apples, apples, apples, apples, eat more apples, how many apples can you eat in a day? Here, have some more…please!

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  5. cb

    November 13, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I like this post by Yoon’s Blur which gives an insight into the “callousness” we adoptees are expected to have if we are to be considered “well adjusted”:

    http://yoonsblur.blogspot.com.au/2010/06/well-adjusted-model-adoptee.html

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    • beth62

      November 15, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Oh, good post, thanks cb.

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  6. Laksh

    November 14, 2015 at 1:22 am

    I haven’t read the links you posted I am not sure if it is because we adopted across racial lines but from the very beginning I have been conscious of my childrens’ heritage. I have issues using birthmother. We both are mother. I prefer using your other mother when talking to my twins. After the birth of my last child, it only reinforced how important that biological connection is. Not sure why there is so much emphasis on real and fake. Two families. One child.

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    • TAO

      November 14, 2015 at 3:26 am

      I don’t understand the real thing either. I you believe you are a family, others will too – at least that worked for us.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • beth62

        November 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        My real parents? I could regress back to this thinking… My real parents are the ones that give me the most stuff, take care of me the best.

        My in-laws became my really REAL parents REAL quick!!!!! Woohoo!! Noe that was true lottery luck!

        It would have been stepping down a rung if I chose any of my previous real parents over my new and better ones. Um, I’m not stupid.
        People don’t seek to step down a rung. It’s hard and painful, no matter who is down there. I can find reasons that are acceptable to most for not wanting to be with them.

        Or I could regress back to….. pffft I don’t need anyone. I’m fine. Leave me be.

        Or whatever other way I could and have thought about it over the decades to adjust, adapt, to survive my life well..

        there are many ways to feel about it and many of us do just that as we evolve and adapt.
        I do not feel guilty for choosing to survive this world.

        What has grown the most in me because of it all is the defiance of wanting to be labeled as well adjusted by anyone else’s opinion. 🙂

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  7. beth62

    November 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    The messages really are so mixed. And for the life of me I do not understand why loving parents and people would want, not only want, but encourage the adopted person to hold onto that anger at parent/s enough to hate them, be distant from that connection as if its not importannt to anyone on earth, and often not even acknowledge there is or should be any anger at mother/father.

    I understand how the adoptee may not be able to identify this anger, we are taught it doesn’t exist, its bad, sacrifices were made be grateful for that great love, taught to keep it distant and be grateful.

    I did it too. Ask Raven 🙂 I could not would not admit that loosing my mother hurt me, that I felt rejected and that it made me angry as hell. I was sent mixed messages,
    Honor your mother and father.
    Be grateful she loved you enough to put you where you are.
    Just shut up, honor, love, forgive and respect everyone, suck it up, what do you really have to be upset about, it’s all for the best.
    You don’t need to know who they WERE. We dont know and we cant know, dont really need to know, you need to move past that. Live in the present. We will fill that void for you, and if we can’t, if you wont let us, then there is just something wrong with you. Yes you, you face slapping ungrateful lucky bad blooded bastard street urchin homeless crack rape baby.

    Living like that made me distant to all humans, trying to live with it made me very callous to matters of the heart and overly independent. Overly independent, to my detriment and those who loved me.

    I see that in the words of so many adoptees. It’s plain as day in the first post linked here. The second link isnt working for me, but its easy to see just in the title!
    The sheer fear of stepping down a rung into the unknown or known, the dissapointment in not moving up a rung or two with the known, the fear and guilt of moving up a rung into the newly found, or even moving up some rungs on you own, the fear of future rejection by many or any. The anger.
    The anger that so many of us can’t see, can’t touch, and if we truly do touch it, sit with it, not run from it, accept it’s there – it hurts deeply, primally.

    Anger can be a great motivator. I’ve known people who have literally crawled for miles thru the wilderness on their bellies, wounded and with broken bones, for days, and days, some for weeks, determined to survive. And they did, against all odds.
    I am one of them. Determined to win, determined to beat the people who took from them and left them for dead. Determined to regain what was taken, all the while trying not to feel rejected, hurt, knowing no one has come to find you, rescue you, save your life.

    Anger can be a very powerful survival tool in the wilderness and in the wilderness of the mind.

    It works when you know why you are hurt, angry, mad, indifferent, hard, or even frozen. When you don’t see it or understand it…. that motivator to survive doesn’t usually work so well. It wears you out, makes you tired, it burns you often, it cuts deep, causes you to lash out in all sorts of directions. May cause you to turn off the switch completely. Often when that switch is off for one person, for two, for three… it typically gets switched off for all.

    I am pretty sure that is not the goal for most. But that’s how it tends to work for many dealing with the mixed messages.

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    • TAO

      November 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      “Living like that made me distant to all humans, trying to live with it made me very callous to matters of the heart and overly independent.”

      Beth, last night I was mulling on why I have such a deep connection to my dog (all my animals really) – what makes that connection so honest and raw, especially when they pass – when human connections make me measure every word spoken, limit the feelings I’m willing to share either way. I think it is a self-protective must be in control for the latter – and with my animals, it stands in stark contrast to it. I wish I could be more open but I haven’t found the way – even here.

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      • beth62

        November 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        It’s easier to trust my dog. I know he could bite me, but I know dogs bite, I signed up for that. It wouldn’t be that huge of a surprise if he did, I would be pretty dumb to find suprise or hurt feelings there. I know he will not live as long as I may, I know I will have to say goodbye. I’ve said goodbye to many. I know I am callous enough to be able to eat him if I had to to survive. I know he would do the same with me…nature of the beasts.

        Horses, same thing, except a horse probably won’t eat me!
        So I am still not so sure about all of that. :-/ I don’t know if that is callous or not, I just know I will always choose to live.

        Bears….. not so much love and trust going on there for me!!! I am very cold to bears and keep as much distance as possible, i respect them greatly, yet am more than willing to kill and eat them to survive – even tho many others would literally hang me for it. My bet is they have no bear claws or teeth strung on a necklace around their necks from a past adversary and meal. Nor a nice hat.

        Survival in the wilderness of the mind can be just as fearful and full of callousness.
        It’s hard to know what to do sometimes. Never feel guilt or shame for choosing to do what it takes to live.

        I don’t know how else to say it, wishing I could find a way to be more open too.

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  8. cb

    November 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    “The messages really are so mixed. And for the life of me I do not understand why loving parents and people would want, not only want, but encourage the adopted person to hold onto that anger at parent/s enough to hate them, be distant from that connection as if its not importannt to anyone on earth, and often not even acknowledge there is or should be any anger at mother/father.”

    I remember reading an article recently where the author quoted one of his friends who said that he had no desire to ever find his biological parents, because they had forfeited their right to be his parents when they gave him up. No matter what conflicts he had with his adoptive parents, no matter how he disappointed them or they him, they were the people who’d stuck out their necks to raise him, who’d made mistakes, who’d been there when he needed them.

    Many people might read that and think “he is praising his aparents for being there” which might be all they want to hear.

    Yet in general life, isn’t it often rather heartbreaking to hear a person say to another that “you were there for me when others werent”? I know that if a friend said that to me, then I would be thinking “my poor friend, he must have been hurt by others”.

    Going back to the above person, I sometimes think that in fact his view is what psychologists/social workers who helped to construct the laws around our post-war adoption practices were in hoping would be the standard view for all adoptees i.e. if one feels abandonment by their bparents, they will be extra appreciative of their new parents.

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    • beth62

      November 17, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      “You were there for me when others weren’t”.

      Yes, when I hear that from someone, I know there is pain, fear and often anger behind it. Rightfully so.
      When i have heard many in my family say it – it sets off alarms for me. I know they are struggling.

      I’ve said that to many people in my life, and everytime it was half good and half horrible, for me.

      I said it to my parents and my grandparents for being there when my original family wasn’t, and it was honest and sincere. Oh, and this is where the “we are all God’s children” bible lesson is inserted. Which I suppose is intended to ease or erase the horrible half… never worked for me much, but others seem to like it and use it…. to distance themselves from the horrible half. Who could blame them? Not me.

      I said it to my father in law after my husband died as we tried to function in our lives and business, he took good care of me, showed great concern for me, and I him.
      He said it back to me.
      We had to stop saying it to each other, made us breakdown in grief. We felt it so strongly, it was comforting to say it, to hold on desperately to each other during moments of thankful to be alive, even tho we were in horrible pain. both knew and felt the pain deeply, the anger, we acknowledged why we had to say such a thing to each other. The reason was not good. We were both thankful we could say it to each other and absolutely crushed that it needed to be said at all.

      I’ve raised to men who lost their mother and family, they said and say it to each other, and me. It’s so full of deep love, connectedness, diligence and sheer fear, sadness, grief, even anger. They know I was there for their mother too until the bitter end, when she said it to me. They’ve said it for her to me.

      I am thankful every day that I don’t have to hear it or say it. I even pray not to hear it today, every day.

      I guess I can’t imagine wanting to hear it said by anyone, especially to me. It does not make me feel good, does not make me proud, breaks my heart instead.

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  9. cb

    November 17, 2015 at 1:06 am

    As some of you know, I’ll never know my bmother who died a long time ago.

    In many ways it would be *easier” to be like the adoptees in the above articles. Even today, I find it hard to talk about my bmother in relation to *me*. Instead I try to separate things into what I actually know and thus talk about others perceptions of my bmother (I usually put the phrase “By all accounts” in front of any description of what I know about my bmother to show that it is from the accounts of others). If I do refer to my adoption, I try to refer more to the adoption process. I might even say that given what I know about her, she sounds like someone who would have found it hard to rellinquish a child. However, I tend to stop short of actually ever saying that she cared about *me* because I don’t want to feel like a fool just in case that is not the case. Sometimes the fact that I know a lot about her from other people but don’t know anything about her feelings towards me makes it hard because from what I’ve heard about her, she sounds like someone I think I would have really liked, yet there is always the possibility that I might have been the last person in the world that she have wanted to meet – it was definitely easier to not care when things were abstract lol.

    So I can understand that temptation to disparage one’s bparents because it can protect one from ridicule (how often do we hear adoptees made out to feel like they are silly fantasists). However, I feel that I have to keep to the facts. I know and like my bfamily so I am not going to disparage them in any way or shape or form (and note that I will not do that to my afamily either). I don’t know my bmother but I will share what others know of her. Also, being someone who likes detective novels, I will sometimes refer to “circumstantial evidence”, i.e. I will weigh up the facts and discuss scenarios. However, I tend to avoid discussing the direct relationship. So unfortunately, fear of ridicule means I’m not as brave as I could be but on the other hand, I refuse to take the even easier road of disparaging or dismissing someone I don’t actually know.

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    • beth62

      November 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Cb, I confess I have seen that in how you word things. I get it, I’ve done it/do it too. I know you get it too, understand why you do it. And I think that is the difference here, you know why. You know you are using it as a tool to deal with it, you are strong enough (AKA “foolish” enough, haha:-) ) to feel it, recognize it and admit it, and you have, outloud. That’s courage that many can’t muster.

      So many have not realized why, or just can’t, won’t go there. I get it, btdt. But that’s when it can get mixed up messy. That is when the anger, distance and disparaging grows, even hatred. Even hatred of all mothers or father’s can grow from that. That biological genetic connection can then be seen and believed to be 99.9% completely unimportant for everyone, not necessary for anyone to concern themselves with after they get life at birth…. except of course for fantasizing fools.

      I think we happen to know how dangerous that can become.

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  10. Dannie

    November 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I guess doing what I do as a speech therapist, the semantics and word usage matters to me and as far as the whole real parents thing, i’d rather be called an adoptive mother than having people say I’m a real mom (for perceived validation ) because to me it just invalidates the other….there was nothing fake about a mothers pregnancy and experience With labor and delivery as well as sharing DNA, and it’s rude not to acknowledge that! and there’s nothing fake about raising a child that one day hugs and kisses you and then the next day says you are the worst parent in the world because you said no to candy for dinner. My daughter is six so obviously still very young but I have always been clear about everything with her in an age-appropriate manner and I hope that she finds her own journey, and how she wants to reconcile her thoughts about it all Will be her own way of doing it!!!!

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    • TAO

      November 17, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Dannie – always the sane one in the room.

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  11. pj

    November 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Agree with CB-“In many ways it would be *easier” to be like the adoptees in the above articles”-especially when I was younger. Many years ago during pre-wedding counseling, the minister asked if we would consider adoption. I answered,”Yes, adoption is wonderful !( while fairy dust was sprinkled around : )” at the same time thinking to myself -there is no way I could adopt a child…
    We have only a four-legged child…and yes, TAO, he is the one I’m most open with..

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      November 18, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      I thought about adopting when I was a teen – before I realized anything about how adoption is practiced. I figured if a child needed adoption – it’d be better if the parent actually understood what it felt like being adopted.

      Animals are mystical – I’m convinced – perhaps it’s because you know they will ALWAYS love you and never willingly leave…

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  12. pj

    November 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I can’t really explain why I don’t have children-and I know when I say that to people they usually don’t understand. But I do know that my fellow adoptees (and my dog 🙂 do….

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    • beth62

      November 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      True for me pj, I totally get it. Even tho somehow I managed to have two… two completely unplanned children. Of course now, 20 and 30 years later, I’m very, very, happy that the birth control pills and condoms simply did not work.

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  13. beth62

    November 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Anyone see the last episode of The Leftovers? Episode 18 I think – International Assassin.
    It shocked me! I think “they” spy on us LOL

    (While in purgatory)This distant non attaching “survival mechanism” was mentioned. Something like this was said.. He says, You, your campaign, want to destroy families. She says to her assistant, yes, perfect, write that down! It’s not confusing at all….
    …the baby is in orphanage now, that baby will be fine, just fine, of course it will be disconnected, have trouble giving receiving love attachment, but this survival mechanism is power or strength. It’s what is needed now. And something about no guarantees of anyone being there for you, anyone could vanish at anytime.

    I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, now I will have to start on season one 🙂

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    • TAO

      November 26, 2015 at 4:39 am

      Never heard of the show The Leftovers – will google tomorrow, to done tonight to even think…

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      • beth62

        November 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        A new happy place for me, thought I’d share. I plan to watch this every morning LOL I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I love the energetic full of life young men before. These fellas even got my boyfriend99 (he is now oficially my boyfriend101 !! we finally found some birthday documents!) up and dancing with our young and middle ones. What a sight, I will never forget, he taught us all some new ancient moves.
        Oh my goodness, I get goosebumps and tears thinking about it.
        I hope these boys know how much special energy they put out in the world yesterday 🙂

        Like

         

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