Sunday, August 4, 2019

My dream...

My sophomore year at WVNCC is about to begin. Since I have to face my nemesis of math this semester, I decided to drop the one online class I have. I loathe online classes... and I realize I will have to get over this at some point because I think by the time I reach that point, the most economical way to get my Master's will be through WVU distance learning. Ugh. But for now, this is a community college, I already have enough on my plate with everyday life... so I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I am looking forward to starting school again. I have my favorite professor and advisor for developmental Psych, and then I have my history professor, whom I adore teaching a class on Appalachian sub-culture. I will have 2 math classes, both with a professor I have not met yet, and another class that will be one day a week for 2 hours on understanding human diversity. Also another professor I don't know. I think it will be interesting. The only thing I am stressing about it math... ugh. Always been my weakness.

I was telling Jeff about my fantasy for what my eventual practice will be like. lol I have two visions... ok, well they could be combined.

My original vision was having an office that is extremely laid back. Decorated with boho/hippie decor. Try to make the place a sanctuary where all feel safe.

The dream part is to create a small therapeutic farm. Not a full farm, but a small place with some farm animals. And the farm animals are used for their intention. Like goats we milk, chicken eggs, and duck eggs for food etc... But use the animals as ice breakers for kids to talk about family and family structures. There are a lot of ways that there can be examples of animals not being raised by their biological parents. For example, I have a female duck who is going broody. (intending to hatch some eggs.) The pile of eggs that she is going to raise are not all hers. They are a collection of eggs from all the female ducks in the pen
Some times chickens will hatch out duck eggs, sometimes, it's the other way... I see these as opportunities to get adopted/foster kids talking. Even adults who love animals would be welcome to experience the farm and the animals.

Perhaps after it gets established, have some cabins, so that a family could stay for a weekend, or a few days to all talk about these things together. A summer camp for foster kids? There are MANY options.
The whole thing could even be set up as a non-profit. Try to make it self-sustaining.


For those who don't know, I have a very small duck farm. https://www.facebook.com/jensduckfarm
I have had pet ducks for the last 10 years. This is the first time I am trying to start a small side business with them. I currently have 12 ducks. Taking care of them, and watching my past ducks care for young is what has brought this into my mind. I can remember a hamster I had as a child that had babies. I was fascinated by the birth... I had to words to communicate about it, or why I was so fascinated. I couldn't leave them alone. I was 6. I had just found out the year before I was adopted... The mother ended up eating the babies... Maybe if someone had caught on and talked to me about it...?

There are those "what ifs" again.

My partner is working for a Farm Co-op and they have helped me with start-up costs, and now I have duck eggs on their mobile market truck each Wednesday. I think I may be able to start selling baked goods on the truck, and that will help make a little more $ to cover costs. 

I know I talked about taking a social media break... I am still planning on it. I am off twitter completely right now, and really don't miss it. I took my adoptee account off Instagram.

I am having a REALLY hard time getting off Facebook.
I do have #FOMO Fear of Missing Out. I think Janet Nordine came up with that one. LOL

It is also hard to get off social media right now as I am trying to spread the word about the wonders of duck eggs.

So there you have it, there is my big idea. lol
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

July...

I have felt a little odd for the last few weeks... Kind of awake in a different way. But I haven't really had any time to sit and enjoy it. Constantly running. Not getting enough sleep... Depression is always here light this weight that is pushing down on me. Some days I feel really good, and I can push it away, actually get some stuff done instead of feeling like I need to sleep for a day.
Other days, it saps my energy and strength, and I can push against it, but it is so much harder, and I can't push it as far away.

I have always said that reunion changed me.
I could never really put my finger on the how... or in what way.

I couldn't find the words to explain it.

I just knew that I felt different.

I am a different person than I was before that phone call.

I think tonight I figured out how I am different, and why.

My partner was playing music on YouTube through the TV. He is a musician and he gets very excited about music, and he loves to share what he discovers with me. It's often very good. But you know how it is, we are all moved by different things, sounds, music, art, etc.

All of what he finds and gets excited about, it is because it moves him. Makes him feel something, and the words are full of wisdom.

Some times, if I am starting to look disinterested... On my end, because it's the end of the night and I am tired, or I just have something else on my mind.

He apologized tonight for being too enthusiastic.
Of all things to apologize for.
I told him, "Please don't ever apologize for being yourself with ME of all people."

But then I got sucked into my own thoughts...

And I started to remember a time when I was enthusiastic about stuff. I was never one of those little girls who would jump up and down together screaming in excitement. I just never understood that. But I still had enthusiasm for things.
I've realized that is what changed for me after the first contact with my natural family.

You see I spent the first half of my life, till I was 24, being angry at my mother because my brain couldn't conceive of someone just giving their child away. I had all this pent up anger that was aimed at her. It never occurred to me that she might not have had a choice.

Then I saw the reunion story on a TV show, and it completely changed my view. I started reading about adoption and searching for her.
After 6 years of searching, my worst fear began to seem like reality. I tried to laugh it off by making a joke of it.
Then it became my reality.

And I think forgiving her built up this huge desire, and enthusiasm to find her, and meet her. To hear her story.

And finding a grave... what it did was kill my enthusiasm. Well, maybe not kill, but squash to almost nothing. I don't care about anything. I want to. I know I should... But I can't seem to find the fucking energy to do it.

That is when depression wins.

I need to beat it.

I am tired of living like this.

I miss my enthusiasm.

I accept my mother is dead.
I accept I will never feel her hug me.
I accept all the questions left unanswered
I accept and forgive my Uncle for the mess he was tossed into when I showed up, and his reaction to it.

Acceptance is what we are forced into when our path in life is disrupted at the very beginning.
But all that acceptance has flattened my enthusiasm...

Now to figure out how to get it back.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Adoptee metaphor plucked from nature...

I was walking around at the fields of the farm today looking for things to take photos of. I love taking photos of critters, and flowers, etc. 

I spotted these little white flowers that resembled small daisies. I decided I would try to get some close-up photos of the lovely little flowers. 

It wasn't that simple though, because they have long stems, and every time there was a breeze they would start waving all around. 

I was standing over a cluster of flowers wobbling around in the breeze, and I started to really look at these plants. These weeds. 



Over the years, people have used different symbols to represent adoption. The heart with the triangle, people have disliked that one because it doesn't include social workers, foster families, siblings, etc.
Then there was talk of a constellation. It's an interesting idea but almost seems too big. Then I thought about a spider web. I've also seen a triangle done...

I think this weed fits the bill really well. (At least from the adoptee perspective.)

This will take a little imagination...

Imagine that the stems represent adoptees.

Just like people, the stems are either tall or short, strong or broken, skinny or thick, different shades, different number of leaves. Each a unique individual.

Without those stems, there would be nothing holding up, and holding together the flowers.

The little flowers then represent what each of us has to deal with as an adoptee. For each individual, a unique plant with unique clusters of flowers. For example, these could each represent nfamily, afamily, agency, nsiblings, partner.

This one could represent an adoptee with even more. Perhaps separate flowers for each parent, maybe grandparents, cousins, children, an agency, a foster family... It's a little blurry because there is a LOT going on. But the Stem is strong. 


This adoptee has, even more, going on. Perhaps for this adoptee, the buds represent children or maybe unanswered questions? Unfound family members? Some of the flowers don't look so perfect... Maybe an illness? 
Hey look this adoptee has an adoptee friend nearby. (it's good to have support.)


This one could represent an adoptee, their afamily, (maybe the relationship isn't so great, hence the blurriness.) and all the buds are the unanswered questions because this one has not found yet. 


The flower clumps/adoptee's issues can be heavy, burdensome. The adoptee/stem strong and being the one who holds it all together... till they can't anymore. 

I REALLY like how these flowers seem to band together. 
They are all unique individuals. Same as our stories are similar, but different, as our stories are different. 

They stand a little scattered but united sprinkling a little beauty in the world. 


These little wildflowers are by definition, weeds. 
Something people typically want to get rid of. 
We often feel like someone got rid of us... even if that isn't the truth. 

The stems are the strength of the whole plant. The flowers get something from the stem and give to it. I believe this little weed is an excellent metaphor for the adoptee. 

They are called Daisy Fleabane. Here is a site with some info. 

Can you see it? How this little weed is like a metaphor for an adoptee? 
Tell me in the comments below. 



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's day...

... Is complicated for me.

Perhaps it is for all adoptees?

I have zero mothers now.

I don't have the one who gave birth to me. Never did but for the time I was inside her.

I don't have my Amom. The one I had no real bond with. I was never what they hoped for. I was compared to my sister. She is their daughter, I am not. But that doesn't really matter, right? Love makes a family. I was special, lucky, and chosen.

As far as adoptive parents go, they were pretty good. My dad was great... But I only knew him as a kid. He died a month before my 19th birthday. I really feel like I missed out on the adult relationship we could've had. He was always my rock. My go-to guy. My best friend. I miss him.

Mom was just mom... I had to listen to her just because. No other reason than, "Because I am the mother." What is that? I don't know if that is a Mexican mom thing or what. But it is what I had.
I say it to my son sometimes as a joke. But I always give him a real reason why he needs to listen, like for example safety. etc. Mom died in 2008.

I had complicated relationships with my adoptive grandmothers too. The one was a leftover from the Victorian era. Properness was a BIG deal to her. A "lady" had to act certain ways, and ALWAYS be proper. She was born of Mexican aristocracy. Her parents both died when she was 18. She was unmarried so she had to go live with her oldest sister who treated her like a servant. Then she finally got out of that situation when she married. She had 4 children, and when she was pregnant with the last one her husband died. She had to raise 5 children by herself in Mexico city while the USA was going through the depression. From what I gather things weren't that great south of the border either. She struggled. She did it though. She raised up 5 children to adulthood and has left a legacy of a wonderful huge family.

My dad's mom was Spanish. She came from Spain when she was only 11 years old. But she had strong memories of life in Spain as a little girl. She told me stories about killing chickens when she was only 7. And how she was responsible for the other children, and if they got into trouble she was the one that got beaten, because she was supposed to keep them out of trouble.
They immigrated to Rome, New York. She called her mother, "Domineering". She married as quickly as she could to get away from her mother only to fall from the pan into the fire. Her husband was mean, and he abused her. They had two boys. My dad, and Uncle John. The depression hit, and her husband brought home a friend to live with them. My grandmother ended up having a fling with this man and she conceived Uncle Mike. She fled to Pittsburgh where she raised her three boys during the depression. She told them their Father had died during the flood of 1936. She had also changed their names to Matthews. I found through ancestry research that their name was never Matthews. Her first husband's name was Martinez. That would've been my Dad's name. She lied and told me that her husband's name was changed from Matos to Matthews on Ellis Island.

Serious accomplishment for single women to raise children during those hard times. The two loathed each other though. The ONLY time I ever saw them in the same place was at my dad's memorial service.
My mom's mom didn't think my dad was good enough for her daughter. He was disfigured. She was afraid it would pass on to their offspring. Nevermind he was a P.H.D. in Chemistry and loved mom.
So Mexican grandmother sent her son to my dad to tell him that mom was only marrying him for his money.

How shitty was that?? So they eloped.
They really did love each other.

I was never good enough for Mexican grandma. She loved me. But she never liked my appearance. She would tell me I had such a pretty face if only I would lose weight. I wasn't fat back then. I was thicker than them, but not fat. Those words stung every time.

Spanish grandma and I had a pretty good relationship. When I was a teen I would spend Saturday nights at her apartment. We would watch Golden girls and play Scrabble. She would often go to bed early, and I would stay up for SNL. SHe always had pudding pops in the freezer for me.

I had a pretty good childhood. I played outside all the time. Had a dog, and my own room.

Then there is my natural grandma.

She did tell me once that she loved me.

But she couldn't handle my questions and didn't know how to deal with them. She would answer them... then when she got tired she would say something cruel to get me to stop.

And finally, there is me as a mom.
I fuck up... I fuck up a LOT. My kid is amazing! I don't know how on earth we got so lucky as to have a kid like him. He is a literal genius. People think "oh you must have it so easy! You won't have to fight over grades etc." No... but there are MANY more challenges that come with an autistic genius. And I fuck up. I get frustrated... Sometimes I yell. I don't mean to lose my cool... I really don't. And I try really hard not to. I've gotten it a lot more under control.

It's REALLY difficult to deal with a child who is completely, willfully, ignoring you... or challenging you.

I know. I know... I am the adult. I am doing my best. But it could be better.


My bond with him is strong, but it doesn't feel natural or maybe it does... I don't know. 

I wonder if that is because I never had a real bond with my Amom, and I don't know what it feels like. 

Happy Mother's day to all moms. 






Friday, May 10, 2019

Write or Die

The other day Anne Heffron posted that she is working on a book about Write or die, and she was looking for volunteers.

I felt like the little kid waving their arm around frantically trying to get the teacher's attention.
But I think I was the first person to comment. "I'll do it!"

Anne and I had a one-hour video call last night where she gave me these writing exercises to do.

They were all really interesting. I really enjoyed doing a video call with Anne instead of over the phone. In a way the video calls almost makes it feel like the person is right in the room with you.
I had my laptop sitting on a couple game boxes so that Anne was eye level. I almost felt like I was in a classroom only more personal.

I have been a fan of her words for a while. Her memes are very thought-provoking. Occasionally she will write one that stops me in my tracks. I almost have to sit down and process it. Often I will screenshot those, and repost them just to make sure they get seen by more people.

I was in a little bit of fangirl mode when I first called Anne and I told her so. She quickly got the session under control. LOL

I am not going to reveal all the exercises we did. But the first one, I think ESPECIALLY for adoptees is SUPER important. I didn't realize it at the time we did the exercise... but it's been rolling around in my head since.

In a way, it's like Anne set my brain on fire.

The first task she asked me to do was to write as if I was told that I only had 5 minutes to live.
When she asked me, I started to ponder what to write...

I don't really know how to explain the sensation that came over my body other than pain. As I was writing I could feel myself being tense. I had this ache all the way across my shoulders and upper back. I cried. I cried a lot.

When the 5 minutes were up, Anne asked me to read it.

I thought, "Oh no. I am never going to get through this." I had to excuse myself and blow my nose... and breath for a minute.

She said, "just go slow."

I was able to choke it out. It was REALLY hard... I cried more, and that pain in my shoulders and back stayed till I was done reading it... I am not sure when the sensation left exactly... But it seems like it was after I was done reading it.

I don't know if the correct term is "pain"... I really don't know what it was. It was a very uncomfortable feeling. Like something was pressing me down. Being oppressed? I am not really sure.

This has stayed in my head since it happened. I have reread what I wrote. This morning I messaged Anne and told her that I think this is a great exercise for anyone who has been suicidal.

I think ALL adoptees should do it.

Sit in a quiet space and write for 5 minutes, as if those are your last 5 minutes.

Then read it to yourself.

Then put it somewhere safe where you can pull it out when you are feeling suicidal.

Suicide is a HUGE issue with adoptees. Every time I read about another one, it breaks my heart. I hurt for them. I hurt for their loved ones. I hurt for the natural family...

It's a really big problem. It almost makes sense though. We are born, taken from what is familiar and plunked into another family like it's no big deal. Our entire lives are disrupted right at the start. It is no wonder really. Taking their own lives is one thing that adoptees can control.

But it's not the answer.

My psychology professor said, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."
She is right if someone is depressed. But when you are adopted, the Primal wound is a permanent problem. I don't think that we can actually heal from it. I think we can learn to live with it. The first step is coming out of the fog... and then processing all of it.

Our loved ones need to give us time, space, and patience to deal with it, and try to make sense of it. It may take decades... It takes as long as it needs to take. It is not something that can be rushed. Some days we might need to go back to bed after the school bus picks up our kid(s), and sleep till the bus comes home. Sometimes we need to go walk in the woods alone to think. Sometimes we need to paint or draw to let out our pain. Other times we need to just not think about it.

Being adopted is a fucked up situation... and one that WE DIDN'T ASK FOR! We just get dropped into it, and everyone expects us to just be ok with it.

Some adoptees maybe ok with it. Good for them! But I feel like they may be deluding themselves.

Why?

Because I was that adoptee. I "told" everyone that it was great being adopted. I have a "great" family, and I have no interest in finding my mother because she didn't want me. I was Lucky, I was chosen.

Did you catch that?
Does that seem like everything is ok to you?

Everyone thought I was ok... But I wasn't I was harboring such rage inside me. At the time it was directed at both my mothers. I was angry at Debra because I assumed that she didn't want me. (had there been more information about my adoption... maybe I could've grown up not being angry? Because I might have known more. Maybe?)

And I was angry at my Amom because she wasn't my mom. We never had a real bond. That hurts.
Because of that, I have spent my life seeking that bond. I make friends with older women. I seek advice from them. As I told my partner, I go around collecting maternal figures. It may be part of my not feeling grounded in this life. I think it's why the bond with my son suffers. I don't know how to be a mom in that way. I try.. but it doesn't feel natural. It's really hard.

These are some of the things that affect me. We all have different issues that can make us feel just awful... or lost, alone, sad, tired.

If you do anything today. Take 5 minutes and write like they are the last 5 minutes you have. Then put it somewhere safe. This is just for you.
When you are feeling sad, alone, like you want to die. Take it out and read it.

I think it might help.

If you don't believe suicide is an issue for adoptees, just do a google search like this.
https://www.google.com/search?q=suicide+and+adoptees&rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS837US837&oq=suicide+and+adoptees&aqs=chrome..69i57.7131j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8





Sunday, May 5, 2019

Abandonment issues

You know... sometimes I forget that I have them... Then something triggers, and I am reminded.

I should be doing some school work. But I have to write this out to get it out of my head so I can focus.

My partner is a busy guy... He works really hard... Really really hard, and I get that.
But besides that... The one thing where he is lax is letting me know what is going on when I am waiting for him to get home.

A simple text... a check in... something to say, HI! I'm ok. I'm going here or there, or I'll be home around 8-ish... SOMETHING like that. Simple right?

Well the day goes on, and life happens, and he forgets.

He's not untrustworthy, it's nothing like that.

We've been together for almost 18 years. It's nothing new.

I called him this evening to ask him when he was going to be home. He was with a friend at another friend's house. No big deal... but it would've been nice to know.

Just as a courtesy when I am gone all day, I text him to let him know how things are, etc. Because he asks me too as I am leaving. I ask him the same... :/

He came home around 8:30. No biggie... it's not like it was 3am.

I was SO angry. I mean like REALLY angry.
REALLY REALLY angry.

The feeling was SO intense.

I took a little time by myself... and thought about it.
I realized that the reason the feeling is SO intense has to be about abandonment.

When this happens, I feel like I've been forgotten.
I know it's irrational. I know he hasn't forgotten me.

But there I am, feeling like an after-thought. Like I don't matter.

I've ALWAYS struggled with feeling like I am being left out, or that I've been forgotten.
It's a terrible feeling.

One time, I was visiting family in Guadalajara. I was finally old enough to go out to bars, etc with my cousins.
This particular evening I saw them getting ready. Friends came over to the house to meet up, etc.
They were going to a soccer game, and then a bar after.
They were all so happy and excited to go. Then they left. They said goodbye... but they left.

No one asked if I wanted to go.
I'm not even saying I wanted to go to the soccer game. The point was that no one thought to ask me.
I was so upset I went on to the roof of the apartment and cried... I sobbed so hard I vomited a couple times, and continued to cry up there for several hours.

I don't think that was a normal reaction. I feel like it was WAY extreme.

When they came back I had a talk with my one cousin. He noticed that I looked like shit. I told him what happened. He felt so bad. He told me they didn't ask me because they didn't think I would want to go. He was right, but it was just the point of being included. Being given the option to say yes or no.

My adoptive sister is 9 years older than me. That made for a really lonely childhood. She was too old to want to play with me. She did sometimes. But not very often. When she was in high school and started driving, she would want to go out with her friends on Saturday nights. My parents played in a bridge group on Saturdays... Which meant that she had to drag me along if she wanted to use the car.

Imagine driving around with your friends, and having a 5-7-year-old with you. I am sure she resented me. 

Yea.. so I need to talk to my therapist about this... I need to process it.
What he did wasn't ok... but neither was my reaction.

Anyone else?

Monday, April 8, 2019

That time I met 4 first moms at once...

Technically, I should be working on my speech that is due this week... but I was inspired by what a friend commented on a post I shared in my group. The digital version of "The girls who went away" is available for very little $ on amazon. 

My friend commented on how that book really kind of woke her up to the reality of her mom... Basically to most of our moms... from the BSE, so I am going to write about what woke me up. 

Way back in the infancy of the internet when searching basically consisted of mutual consent reunion registries, I came across a group called P.A.C. (Pittsburgh Adoption Connection) The founder of the group and I had started communicating via email, and possibly phone.. I can't remember exactly. (That was a long time ago.) She was a first mom. The was THE first first mom I had ever communicated with. It was a little intimidating to me. (You have to remember until a short time before that I was still furious with my first mom because I hadn't been able to understand the totality of the situation.) 

She was having a planning meeting at her home for a large event her group held every year, and she asked me to come. It was to be the first time I met a first mom. Even though I was nervous I decided to go. (She talked me into it.) 

I find my way to her lovely home. I was a little late so the other ladies were already there. I was introduced to everyone. I was obviously the youngest one there. We were sitting around her dining room table making some crafts for decorations, and just chatting. I was mostly listening, as I didn't know anything about my story yet. 

As the conversation continued, I became aware that ALL these ladies were first moms! 

Suddenly I looked around at each one, and I blurted out, "Wait! Are you ALL first moms?" The founder smiled. They all nodded.

I can't even recall the emotion I was feeling. I am sure there were multiple. But I know I felt overwhelmed... It was surreal. 

Here were these ladies, just regular people like you and me... Not BIG SCARY MONSTERS! I had been intimidated by the idea of being in the room with 1 first mom, and she put in a room with 5. 

I started asking all kinds of questions. I guess the same ones I would've asked my mom. 
"did you think about your kid?"
"Every single day!" 
"do you regret what happened?"
"Every single day." 

And so on... 
Some of them were still searching for their children, and they had questions for me. 

At some point, they all hugged me. All at once... a large circle of healing. I sobbed a bit... Maybe we all did. 

These women that were there at this informal gathering... They were wronged. 

They were children themselves, but old enough to know that what was happening to them, such as being sent to unwed mother's homes, or hidden away at a relative's home, forced to live in shame.... It was all wrong. All because of stupid societal rules.
Natural moms are not our enemies. I am sure there are natural moms out there that SHOULD not be parents. When that happens, the other family members should step up, but I understand that doesn't always happen. 

When ALL other family possibilities have been exhausted, and only then should a child be placed with other people. 
However, their identities should not be hidden from them. They should grow up knowing the truth and getting all the support they need. 


My dream...

My sophomore year at WVNCC is about to begin. Since I have to face my nemesis of math this semester, I decided to drop the one online class ...