This past Monday, I worked from home since both K and I had Dr. appointments. Me, for my healing arm from the car wreck, and K’s was for a routine visit to her pediatrician.
Thank goodness I was not at work. Here’s why….. Just as I pick K up to head to her appointment, I get a text from Amom apologizing, and telling me they will not be able to come down for their 5 day visit, (which was supposed to happen on Friday), and asking me not to cry. I am driving down the road, and had all I could do to not scream out at the top of my lungs and break into my hysterics and beat on whatever I could and run off the road. I held it all in, except for the tears that welled in my eyes. K noticed this immediately, and knew something was wrong. But, I couldn’t tell her, I was too hysterical on the inside, on the outside, I had to be calm cool and collected. I continue to act as if nothing is wrong, because the tears and hysterics are so close to the surface, and any little thing will bring them flooding out. And that would not be good for her.
This was going to crush her…….just like it had just crushed me. This is exactly what I never wanted K to have to experience with her bio father. He has been out of her life since she was 14 months. No support of any kind, because I didn’t want to deal with the games, the picking up of the pieces when he would not show up and she would be waiting near the door for him. He had that track record with his other children, and they do not speak with him now. When I went through this process of ‘matching’ and had specifically addressed this ‘open’ adoption and how it MUST be at all times for the children – especially K, since she knows what is going on. It had to be handled with kid gloves. Because, kids remember everything……they never forget. You say something, and you are bound by it, they trust you, and once you lose that trust, you have hell to pay to work to get it back. They never forget.
The feeling of having the rug pulled out from underneath you, from being ‘fooled’, from being rejected (again), the ache and pain of my chest cavity being compressed, is a feeling that is becoming part of my everyday life. And realizing that I’ve caused this pain for so many around me, my kids and my family who didn’t have any choice in this matter. Realizing that I have to deal with the disappointment – or rather – I have to help K through dealing with the disappointment, for things I tried so hard to make clear that I just couldn’t stand for with this ‘open’ adoption, have just punched me in the gut and hit me over the head while bent over, and I’m now sitting back in a fog trying to figure out how I’m going to break this to her so her 8 year old heart doesn’t end up the same way mine has. Wounded, scarred and beaten and so quick to put up the wall run away from those who have caused the pain, never to let them hurt (or love) me again. That self-preservation mode.
I reached out to my friend, my Friend through shared grief. She talked me back off the ledge. She rationally said what I needed to hear to not act out harshly, and to realize that handling this in the proper manner was more important for K and for W, than it was for me. She made me realize that I couldn’t just close this off. K wouldn’t be able to handle that, she would be disappointed now, but I needed to turn this into a learning experience for her to be able to handle disappointment, and still be OK.
But that was NOT my first instinct on how to handle this. It was, THEY can tell her, THEY can crush her, I do not want any part of this. I will close this off, as it is not fair to her or to me or to H2. We have no control, but to close it off and push the pain away. Once again, I was backed into a corner and I had ‘no choice’ but to deal with the aftermath and pick up the pieces of her crushed heart. I had to be the ones to tell H2. I’m going to have to get through it, I’m going to have to make this OK. What the hell have I done.
This is so not fair. If they will do this to her now, what will they do to her later, when she is older and they don’t think I will affect her.
How the hell was I supposed to do this, when all the pain and hurt of cancelling her 2nd visit that she had so patiently waited for, a 5 day right before Christmas visit, that we have been preparing weeks for, including setting up our annual ‘Cookie Decorating with Friends & Family’ event while they were here, purchasing new bedding for my spare room for them, cleaning the carpets being conscious of W’s potential ‘allergy’ issues, planning the menu, running around to purchase their gifts because the things I had decided on weren’t at just ‘any’ store. This was just such an important visit. It was also H2’s first visit as well. I had gotten so excited, and was so happy that he was going to get to see W for the first time, I was so happy for him, and now, he too was going to be crushed. And I did all of this, I ‘CHOSE’ this, for everyone, I did it.
So, we finished the rest of our Monday, her not knowing what I had just found out, and me being numb and going through the motions, holding back the frustration, anger, tears and hurt and all the hysterics that were a product of all of these feelings that I’m sitting here going through while typing this all out.
I finally called them 6 hours after I had received the text. I explained everything above, how my first instinct was to shut down and protect my family from this pain that they had no say in. How I would be fine and get through this (AHEM), but that K, was going to be crushed by this. She was having to suffer, and this was the VERY thing that I specifically addressed on our initial phone call, when everyone said they were on the same page where the kids were concerned. I told them this right here makes me wish I would have done what I wanted to do in the first place, tell K that W died. That’s right, I wanted to tell her that, so she wouldn’t have to deal with this. But the ‘industry professional’ told me that it would not be the best thing, because one day it would come out.
This is best? I’m not so sure about that. Yeah, and she was right, a lot has sure ‘come out’.
The next day, I treated it like any other, getting her out of the house as soon as possible and getting myself to work – to put it out of my mind to give myself some time to process and relieve the anxiety that I had of having to tell her.
That night, I got home, and K and I got settled in and I told her I had something to talk to her about. Before I decided that I needed to tell her, I was going to make them do it, video tape her reaction and then send it to the ‘professional agency SW’, along with a letter stating that if she ever contacted me again I would consider it harassment and sue her, and of course to have a ‘Merry Christmas’. Fighting with ‘doing the right thing’ and taping it so you all could see, I did the right thing and broke it to her gently. Her immediate response was breaking down in tears, and crying ‘But I’ve waited this long already!?’ I just held her and said that we would see them, not really believing it myself, and she then continued as kids do to ask ‘Wheeeeennnn??’ I told her I didn’t know, but that we would, and we would be OK. After getting her calmed down, and telling her we were going to Skype in a few minutes with them, she promptly grabbed her DS game, and shut down to me. She wanted it out of her mind, she wanted it to go away. I asked if that was what she was doing and she said ‘Yes.’
I so wanted this to go away just as badly as she did, I wanted to erase this entire ‘thing’ from our lives. But it is going to be with us forever, the memories of the first Christmas without him, and our first cancelled visit all rolled into one of the worst memories of my life and possibly my daughter’s life.
K asked them to Skype more often. So they decided on Saturday, which was the first day they would have been here. Needless to say, Saturday, I wasn’t a ‘happy, smiley’ face. I was numb, I was hurting and I couldn’t ‘hide’ it. It was written all over my face, my actions and my non-emotional words.
After the call, I get a text….’We know this is not fun…but are you mad at us?’ I replied ‘I’m numb.’ Then here it comes again…..’Maybe we need to take a break from this, your first reaction scared us (meaning pulling away) and we’ve been talking and not sure you can handle all the ups and downs, and if your 1st reaction was to pull away, that scares us for W and ourselves. We need to protect him and we don’t want that to happen when he can understand.’
Ok, I about lost my mind, or really what is left of it at this point. Why is it OK for them to do this to K……and yet, when I show how unhappy and upset I am, they spin it and think that I would do this to W? Are you kidding me?! I am not the one who ‘recanted’ or ‘recalled’ a commitment. Why is this OK to do this to K, and then suggest that we take it a step further and cut her off!? Who are they really putting first here!? It’s not the kids, or well, let me rephrase…..it’s not the kid I’m parenting. THAT is crystal clear.
I instantly called her. I told her that I really don’t have a choice to close it down, and if they wanted to act on what I told them was my first reaction, and not my actual ACTIONS – and penalize K, then that’s their prerogative, but for the record, that is NOT what I want. I would never, ever, ever do anything like this to either of my kids. (Yes, I said my kids.) I have caused enough pain for too many, and I will not take part in any more. If you can’t see the actions I have taken for K to be ‘OK’ with all of this, then I don’t know what else I can do. I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job of keeping her level through this. She has NO ill feelings towards you, wants to talk to you, and I have NOT influenced her feelings in any way. If you want to penalize me for feeling the way I’m feeling, and can’t stand to see me upset, I am sorry, I am not able to do that. I have to be ‘shiny, happy’ all week long at work. No one knows this part of me there, and they never will. So, this right before Christmas cancelled visit is a blow of astronomical proportions. I told her not even H2 has never ever seen me like this. That he couldn’t figure out what was wrong Saturday morning, until he took 5 minutes to really think about it. Then he said, ‘I know what it is now….they were supposed to be here today.’ I said yes. Amom & I came to an understanding, that this is how it is and I’m not going to sugar coat it. I do not show anyone my hysterics, but my tears they are going to be there – because it is a part of my everyday life. Some days are OK, and others are really really bad. I said, I’m not keeping a list of things to bring back to W one day and undermine you as his parents, but I am showing this all to others who are considering, because they all NEED TO KNOW the reality of this. This is not and will never be ‘easy’. I told her I could go over the edge and go into my modes with drugs or alcohol, but I don’t, I have to go through this, because holding it in will not make it better, it will only make it much much worse.
But I wonder if this is truly the underlying reasons for them not coming. Thinking they needed to ‘let me heal’. Thinking distance and ‘not knowing’ would make that healing happen. No way. It won’t. But, I’m beginning to wonder.
Again, why is it that the first thing that they want to do is pull back? And why is it me who has to be the one putting the kids first and pulling it back to together? I don’t get it. They ‘wanted’ to be parents, they wanted to keep the kid’s relationship strong just as I did. So, why are they so quick to cut it off when there is any kind of pain. IT IS REALITY. THIS IS NOT sunshine and rainbows. It…..is……NOT. Just like when they were attempting to have children and not being able to conceive themselves and couldn’t…..have some empathy, consideration and just be kind and cut some slack to those who have sacrificed a part of them, for your happiness, while they live with the pain for the rest of their lives. I can’t solve my issues by writing a check and getting my ‘void’ filled like they did. It’s done, and over.
There are so many out there in open adoptions that will NEVER ever write about this pain. Because it could put a strain on their relationship with their child’s adoptive parents, but I cannot do that, I cannot allow anyone else to enter into this life without having full disclosure of what this life of pain is like. Allowing others to enter into this life without even having access to knowing, would not be the ‘right’ thing to do.
So, no Christmas traditions happening in our home this year. No cookie decorating, that was supposed to happen today. I haven’t decorated the tree, it’s been sitting in the corner since last Sunday, the text came Monday which brought this year’s Polar Express to an immediate stop at the end of the tracks, just shy of our home. The gifts that are small I’m sending to them. W’s big gifts, well, I’m taking them back to the store and will re-order them and ship them directly to their home. Hopefully they will get there by Christmas.
Christmas 2011…….is………cancelled, and will go down into history as the worst Christmas ever, and after last year I didn’t think it could get any worse. Ohhhh what I didn’t know.
I don’t know what to say besides I am very sorry that they did this. I believe it’s very cruel of them to cancel after they agreed to coming. I didn’t catch that they even gave you a reason. Hope you can have a nice Christmas despite this happening.
Cristy…..it doesn’t really matter does it? It was financial, gas n food, they were gonna stay in our home. And I had planned out meals, so we woupdn’t have been eating out a lot. Thank goodness the cancellation came in before I made it to the grocery store.
W’s ~ There aren’t words to express how very sorry I am that your Christmas plans were taken away from you and your family.
Their response ~ that they aren’t sure you can take the ups and downs?! That they are looking at your first reaction as more important than your actions?! *sigh* Again ~ I am so sorry.
I’m glad that you are speaking the truth of your “open” adoption experience. In my fight for family preservation, open adoption is tooted as the “saving grace” to adoption ~ I use your words and experience to show that open adoption isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either.
Hugs to you ~
uggh I’m so soo sorry!! I hate that they can’t handle your reactions and would do something like this to you and your children.
I’m so disappointed. For you…for K…for H2…for W. What a crap thing for them to do, on such short notice.
I know that you are in a rough space right now and you need to feel/do whatever you can in order to move through it. And by no means am I saying to forget it…or anything like that at all…please understand that. But…what if you try to push through some of it. You and K decorate the tree…despite the pain. Do some baking – or go to a local bakery and pick up some yummies. Just do little things…to try to move through it?
Just a thought. I can imagine that you three just want to crawl under the blanket and stay there ’til the holiday passes.
Also, I think that that their text to you and suggestion that you might ‘take a break’ is ridiculous…they totally missed the point.
Big hugs to you.
“So, no Christmas traditions happening in our home this year. No cookie decorating, that was supposed to happen today. I haven’t decorated the tree, it’s been sitting in the corner since last Sunday, the text came Monday which brought this year’s Polar Express to an immediate stop at the end of the tracks, just shy of our home.”
You can still make cookies. You can still decorate the tree. You can show by example how to deal with disappointment. Show her how to make not just lemonade but lemon meringue pie out when life hands you lemons. Letting her see that you handle bitter disappointment with grace and by picking yourself up and dusting yourself off would be a precious gift to give her. Not making cookies or decorating the tree just shows giving up when things don’t go the way you want them to go. “Because, kids remember everything……they never forget.”
I’m 9 months in….gimme a break. Of course she never sees the hysterics…but damn…I’m not, nor have I ever claimed to be Wonder Woman. This is what it is…and if you have not walked my path, please don’t give advice. If you have, please remember back to 9 months in….. but, I think I already know what your answer is gonna be to that. Thank you for your comment.
Then how sad for your daughter to be let down by you both. You’re doing the same thing that they are — you’re both canceling Christmas.
You write about how their canceling is going to affect your daughter. You have a blind spot if you don’t see that you are doing the same thing. You write about how you’ve caused this pain to those around you but write that you’re canceling rather than carrying on without them.
It’s not too late to turn things around for her. Do the right thing so she doesn’t suffer for the actions of the adults around her. You don’t need them to bake cookies or trim a tree. By canceling, you give them more power over you than they deserve.
Don’t worry, she qill be fine, just like she is fine accepting that it is OK to give a baby away, just likw she is fine with them pulling the rug out from under us….she will have a great Christmas. Now thatt I’ve had to spend more due to my mental paralyzation I endured last week. Presents purchased, some wrapped, tree still propped in the corner waiting to be decorated tho…. I will always pull it togwthwr for my kids, but there are times when I have to get myself through it FIRST. You never answered….how is your life afdected by adoption…?
Hey wait a minute, you are not wonder woman but darn close. You are loved by so many. Please love yourself as much as we do. The daughter I lost is somewhat found. She loves herself and that is damn important. She has an admirable family. She loves her dad. The boy I was trying to become legal guardian is living with his brother, and while his life is difficult. For now it’s the way he wants it, (not at all the way his father does) but this is something we have to accept if we don’t want to push him over the deep end. WS you are so greatly loved. All of us that lost someone this way have to pretend through the holidays. It hurts like hell in an oven. And yet, when some small blessing occurs, we are so grateful because we have known such dispair. Please do try to love yourself just a little. Be so proud of what you have done for K H2 W and all of those that this blog gives the courage to hang on another day, time, place. Mary did you know? Ws did you know that your words will live on for years to come. Thank you for your gifts to us, the walking wounded.
I’m so sorry you were all soo disappointed. Please keep telling your truth no matter how hard it is for others to hear it. As an adoptive parent of 2 children, it’s stories like this that help me understand the devistation that can occur when adoptive parents don’t keep their commitments in open adoption. It’s been difficuilt and awkward at times to say the least but, I always walk away from visits feeling like we did the right thing. I’m sorry that W’s adoption parents aren’t currently able to do that. Will say a prayer for all of you. Thinking of you. Laura from a lake in Wisconsin.
Just stumbled upon your blog today in doing some research. I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time with the placement of your son and the realtionship with his aparents. However, I just don’t see how you can expect them to parent W while always considering K. It’s your responsibility to care for/about K, not anyone else’s. And maybe something truly came up that prevented them from visiting; I doubt you know everything that is going on in both their and their families’ lives. I would suggest you talk to someone or maybe this blog is your therapy. At any rate, I pray you can find healing for your heart.
If the APs actually cared about anyone besides themselves, they would have given the baby back to his rightful mother and family a long time ago. It is their job to care about K. K is a child, and she is the sister of “their” son.
It’s not that I’m having a hard with the relationship we have at all. I am grieving my son, and the disappointments that we have endured, unless you have placed a child and had the EXACT SAME scenario happen, you cannot imagine how they affect us. Please don’t assume that you know everything about this just because a ‘few’ details are shared on my blog. Trust me, this is only a ‘slice’ of my life.
I know several years have gone by since this post.
I hear you. I understand. Sorrowfully…I do.
a shoulder to hold your tears.. ((hugs!))
another mom, lost then found.. walking forward. with .. a little hope. Cindy