Monday, February 9, 2009

Closing The Door

You think I would have learned by now that there are just some things in this adoption journey that simply aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

Though it’s a great dream to think my family can just close one door to open another, it isn’t possible.

Not now.

Not for awhile, I fear.

When it comes to my son’s adoptive mom, I find that door I want to close being swiftly kicked back open, time and time again, crashing against all the hopes I have that maybe, just maybe, she will realize how her anger, her threats, her insults, hurt my son – her son she claims to love.

I can see now the pattern that has emerged in the months since my son moved in with us. The first phone call, to myself or my son, that usually starts on a calm level, offering a glimmer of hope that maybe this time . . . THIS TIME . . . things will be different.

And then the anger comes with ugly words and vicious attacks. And she takes those verbal punches. The ones that hit hard and drop you to your knees. Over and over again they come, lies and name calling, accusations and threats.

And even as his own anger builds in response, I can see the hurt in my son’s eyes, can tell when she has found yet a new way to hurt him. And her yells echo through the telephone, an eerie glimpse into what she is saying on the other end, to the shots she is taking over and over again, growing stronger with every minute she is allowed to carry on.

Until, at some point, my son, unable to take anymore, ends the call.

But then, it has only just begun. As he’s hurting and struggling to not let his anger get the best of him this time, she calls back. The house phone. My son’s cell phone. My cell phone. Seeking whoever she can to lash out at.

Sometimes her calls are answered, sometimes they aren’t. But they don’t end. Over and over again our phones ring, one after another, as her alcohol-induced fury gains strength, refusing to back down. Wanting only to hurt some more. Not satisfied until she has taken everyone down with her.

And then, as quick as it started, the calls for the night end.


Silence in which my son is left to struggle with the hurt she has hurled at him. Silence to relive the ugliness she has thrown around, find a way to again mend the wounds she ripped open.

Silence that can last for weeks.

And during that time, my guard slips and I find myself foolishly hoping that the silence is for good this time. That she is off somewhere getting help, calming down. Hoping that her next call will be different. That somewhere, someway, she will finally realize the affects of her cruel words.

But then, the next call comes and the pattern is repeated all over again.

Just as it did almost a week ago.

Again, I picked up that first phone call and foolishly hoped something would be different this time . . . she would be different.

I should have known better.

It was a night of my son being told I actually had an abortion with him but it didn’t work out. Of being told I was just a whore who gave birth. Of the same calls, over and over again, the same pain, the same wounds opened for another round.

And then the silence again.

But in this silence came a difference . . . the voice of my very good friend Cheerio. The voice I needed to hear, gently nudging me to a different direction.

Perhaps I can’t yet close the door I want to lead us into a happy life but I can close the one inside me. The one that foolishly leads me time and time again, into hoping for the change. The one that exposes my own fear of my son feeling as if he is trapped between two moms, left to again lose one for the other.

It’s a fear that has resided inside me since we first reunited. One that has echoed in my head that what would be best for my son would be the love of both his mothers.

I know it’s true and I wish, at this time in our lives, I could give him that, assure him of it. But the fact is, leaving that door open for that hope to control my reactions is only doing more harm than good right now.

In that mind set, I restrict my son from reacting how he desires when it comes to FINALLY being able to stand up to his adoptive mother, to protecting himself from her once and for all. My fear of what happens today affecting a possible relationship with her later on, only controls him much in the same way as she has for so many years.

And it controls me in not standing up and protecting my son in the way I would protect my other children. It takes my voice when she attacks him, allowing it to happen. Allowing him to stand alone AGAIN to fight back against the swings she takes.

So I’m closing that door. Slamming it shut with all the force I have.

As Cheerio pointed out, I can’t change her. Only she can change herself. And I can no longer allow her abuse to take free reign over my son, my whole family, on the hope that someday she will be there in the way I imagine for my son – her son.

I have made sure my son understands that there is nothing that will ever cause me to stand in the way if/when he wants his adoptive mom involved in his life and that it is my greatest wish for him. He knows I don’t want to trap him between two feuding moms. Don’t want his life to be caught between us.

But he also knows, I am closing that door that has pushed such restrictions on me and that I will not hold him back when it comes to him standing up to her, protecting himself. And I will no longer stand silent and helpless in the background when she decides to attack my child in any way.

Her calls will not end. I know that. But, from this point on, we will stand up as a family, whole and intact, without our fears guiding us. Instead, our love and support will lead us through.


  1. At least you know the attacks are alcohol induced. Perhaps better than the steely digs I have gotten from "perfect amom" where I felt compelled to suck it up for my son's sake.

    The venom your son's amom spews is probably what my son's amom thinks so I will keep a wary eye.

    IMHO you are doing the right thing in dealing with her. I have been so deferential and inclusional and am willing to have the crumbs off the table.

    What is wrong with these women? Do they not know the term share – as in I shared my son with you now it’s your turn to share back?

  2. Weird Cassi, I don't even know you really but I had a feeling something was going on with you and your family the last couple of weeks. I struggle with the same type of venom,and what saddens me most is my son still lives under the roof of the woman who spews it. Haven't heard from him in a week and a half, and I am just sad. Some days are harder than others. I so admire you and Justin for being courageous enough to do what is right for you despite the pain someone else insists on inflicting. We can only control ourselves and our own behaviour sadly, no matter how much we would like to grab the other person by the head and just shake them until they get it. Some people are just simply toxic and cannot be a part of our lives simply because it is bad for our pysches for them to be so. It's especially hard to come to that conclusion when it is someone how is supposed to love us. Unconditionally. Like a mom.

    Be Well, Be Strong,

  3. No one needs to be subjected to abuse - even verbal. Setting healthy boundaries is a necessity!

    You MIGHT send a letter an dlet her know that until she agrees to enter into fmaily therapy - with all of you together - you will no longer accept any of her tirade phone calls. That way you've at least given her an option to change if she choses, and your son sees that you have given her options...

    Mirah Riben

  4. No-one deserves to be abused, and this emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical and sexual abuse. Please grab a copy of the book "Toxic Parents" and learn all you can on the web about emotional abuse.

    Scarlett and I put a page up on our website about emotional abuse, as all 3 of our stolen children (her 2 daughters and my son) were emotionally abused and this abuse escalated w/ reunion. We wanted to help other adoptees recognize the abuse and refuse to accept it.

  5. Cassi, I am lost for words for you and your family. I am so very thankful that I did not go into reunion with my amom being aware. She went to her grave both hating me, and claiming to be my "only" mother. I'm glad that part of my life is over.
    Give your son a hug from this angry adoptee.

  6. Ohhh... dearest Cassi - this post was up for about a week before I saw it. I apologize for the delayed reply. While reading, my emotions were down, then further down, and spiraled down just a little more. At times I got goosebumps. I cried to read the part about seeing the pain in his eyes.

    I just wanted to reach out and hug you - to hug him - and just to take all the pain away. If only it was that easy. While I know we all wish it would just stop, we know those odds are very slim.

    I am rejoicing with you to read that you're closing the door from the pain to freely just coming storming into his life to attack him.

    I am so glad to know that you're going to huddle together and get through it as a family. And I can just picture you allowing yourself to be the mamma bear next time!

    much love, and {{{hugs}}}