Friday, August 7, 2009

Toe The Line

I slipped away again.

It seems to be a pattern with me. The silence. The backing away. Over and over again.

And I don’t know why it keeps happening.

Nothing even really triggered my last bout. I just was there . . . toeing that line of denial. So tempted to take that final step back into that state of mind where I once pretended that I knew nothing of the pain and loss adoption has caused in my life, my son’s life.

I see so many wonderful first/natural moms, adoptees, adoptive moms, who don’t quit. Who speak out day after day, week after week. And I envy them. Wish I had their strength. Their ability to not back away even when I know it’s just as hard on them to continue to step up and speak out. To face the other side of adoption that so many refuse to see or acknowledge.

Why can’t I do that? Why do I always back away when I know I shouldn’t?

And I cheat not only myself, but the amazing friends I have made along the way as well. Those who have stood beside me through all my ups and downs, have never left me alone when I have suffered. And yet, I do that to them, back away, remain silent, stop reaching out when they need me to be there for them just as they have always been there for me.

I hate that. I hate that I am that kind of person. That I just go away without explanation. That I still live so close to that line of denial that I can’t change that part of me that I know I should.

Sometimes I just want to scream . . . at the world . . . at God . . . at whoever will listen. I want to tell them that I don’t want this. I don’t want the pain. I don’t want the reminders. I don’t want the truth of adoption on my shoulders, in my heart . . . part of my life.

Sometimes I just want to be normal. I want to be that woman who did it “the right way.” The one who partied in college. Found a man she loved. Got married after graduation. Built a career. Bought a house . . . and then started her family.

I want to be one who has never known shame for being pregnant. Never lost a child. Never faced the lies of open adoption. The ugliness of learning my child had been abused and I was helpless in saving him.

Sometimes, I just want my reality to go away. To leave me alone so I can pretend that I am a good person, worthy of everything I have accomplished. That I deserve to laugh. To brag about who I am without having to worry that the shadow of adoption darkens that somehow. Takes away from all of it.

Sometimes I just want to take that flying leap over the line of denial. Slip right back into that place where I lived for so many long, long years, and pretend as if I know nothing of pain and loss. Of shame. Of being accused of being bitter and angry because my feelings are not what others expect.

You know, I slipped so far this time around that I sat just the other night at an old friend’s house. One I had known since Elementary school. And I said nothing, when we were talking about adopting my son back, when she told me that she knows lots of adoptive parents and all of their children are so happy and have absolutely no problem at all with being adopted.

I just nodded, of all things, when she talked about how great she thought it was when one of the adoptees had an opportunity to meet his first mom but decided not to because he was so “well adjusted” and “happy” with his adoption.

And I did it because I just wanted to enjoy my time with an old friend. Because I didn’t want her to suddenly back away and look at me like so many others do when I speak out about adoption. I talk so much about being strong and speaking out and educating whenever you can. And I didn’t do it.

Instead, I said NOTHING. Nothing when I knew better. Nothing about the other truths that exist out there. I let her believe that it was just my son’s experience. A little black spot on adoption. That nobody else feels pain. Feels loss. I allowed her to live in that world I try so hard to get others to see past. I had an opportunity and I not only let it pass me by . . . I purposely stomped on it. Silenced it. Ran from it. All so that I could just be “normal” for a space in time.

Normal . . . it’s something I know I will never be. Not in the ways I view it in my mind.

And I need to stop allowing such a need to control me. To set me back, silence me.

I need to find a balance. A balance that allows me to be okay with laughing and enjoying myself while still having that strength to speak out about adoption. I need an acceptance that adoption did happen to me, to my son, my husband, and my three younger children. That it will never go away. Never disappear.

But it doesn’t have to rule me in such a way that I don’t allow the other side of me to show, and experience, as well. That I don’t continue to feel that I have to give up one “side” for another.

There has to be a way to balance it because I know, deep inside, that I don’t want to be that person I was who lived in denial for so many years. I don’t want to be one who doesn’t stand up and speak out when I know there is so much to be changed.

I want to be me. Someone who knows and understands how deeply adoption has affected myself and others. Who faces that fight to make changes, educate, and never allow the fantasy to live. The friend who is there for those who have been there for her. And the woman who can still hold her head high for being a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a person who has gone down different paths than others but still survives to tell the tale.