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 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.
In Other Words: Susan Harness and Sandy White Hawk
27 minutes ago