Monday, January 6, 2014

Full of What Now?

When I was growing up, my adoptive mother sold collectible dolls out of our house…Madame Alexander dolls for the most part.  Each year, my sister and I would get a “StoryLand” doll that would sit on shelves in our room, never to be played with.  There was Cinderella, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Little Bo Peep..etc.  I still have those dolls stored up in our attic.  Not sure why.  My daughter never really liked dolls, except for the occasional Barbie doll.  And my son, while he’d play with the Barbies with her, was more interested in arts and crafts than anything else.   My fiance tells me that I should chuck them…that it might make me feel better and also somewhat vindicated about the way I was treated as a child.  But there’s still that nagging guilty feeling that she’d know.  That one day, she’s say, “Hey, still got those dolls?  Can I see them to make sure you haven’t chucked them?”.  Sigh.

We built the house I grew up in when I was 2 and a half.  My parents asked my sister and I what colors we wanted for our rooms.  As a toddler, I chose pink.  My sister, four years older, chose purple.  My room had a pink shag rug (no judging, this was back in the 70’s), pink curtains, pink lamp, pink wallpaper with pink stripes and pink flowers, pink light switch cover.  Name a piece of furniture in any bedroom in America and I can guarantee you that in my room, I had that furniture in a screaming shade of pink.  My sister had the same purple…down to the purple wallpaper with purple stripes and purple flowers. 

And like I said, we had those collectible dolls on the pink (or in the case of my sister, purple) shelves that our father hand painted according to my mother’s wishes.

Along with the StoryLand dolls, we had others that were strictly for decoration.  Have you ever heard the following poem?

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

This rhyme was first recorded in A. E. Bray's Traditions of Devonshire (Volume II, pp. 287–288)[2] in 1838 and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century.[1] The tradition of fortune telling by days of birth is much older. Thomas Nashe recalled stories told to "yong folks" in Suffolk in the 1570s which included "tell[ing] what luck eurie one should have by the day of the weeke he was borne on". Nashe thus provides evidence for fortune telling rhymes of this type circulating in Suffolk in the 1570s.From Wikipedia

There was a doll for each day of the week, and my mother gave us each one for the top of our bureaus, on top of the pink or purple runner next to the pink or purple lamp. 

My sister was given the Monday’s Child doll.  Her birthday was on a Monday, obviously.


I had the Tuesday’s Child doll.  You’d assume that I was born on a Tuesday, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Until a few years ago when I searched for the day of the week on which my birthday fell.

Who is shocked to know that I’m not Tuesday’s child at all?  Well, the fact that I trip walking around the house in bare feet should have lead to the assumption that I was never “full of grace”…

I’m Wednesday’s child...."full of woe".  I haven’t worked up the nerve to ask my adoptive mother why she didn’t give me the correct doll.  I have a feeling it was simply because Tuesday’s Child had brown hair and Wednesday’s Child had blonde. 

Regardless of the hair color, it’s just one more truth that was kept from me.  And one more inaccuracy in my life that I deal with.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mr. Sandman Can Bite Me

When I was younger, I suffered from insomnia.  Often, after the rest of the house had fallen asleep I'd tiptoe downstairs and watch the B grade horror movies playing at night, sometimes sneaking a half cupful of Capital-N-Small-y-Big-F*cking-Q.  I grew out of it for the most part, but there are some nights where I can't fall asleep to save my life and I'm left tossing and turning like a chicken on a rotisserie.
Tonight is just one such occasion.

If tomorrow was Saturday, I wouldn't care so much.  But the fact that I have to get up in roughly four and a half hours to go to work is making me highly irritated and making it that much more difficult to settle my brain down.  The good news is, we made our Third Quarter cash goal as a department so our manager called a quick meeting this afternoon and told us how amazed he was by our hard work and oh, by the way, we're letting you out at noon on Friday for the weekend.  THAT made my day.  I've allowed my health to escape me again this quarter and my anxiety is through the roof.  I've got a friend at work who sent me a daily Outlook reminder to take my pills though so at least if I still am feeling crappy in a few weeks time, I'll know it's because I need to change medication and not that I was just too lazy to figure it out.

My son has been a holy terror.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think he was the teenage girl living in my house with the premenstrual hormones instead of my daughter.  I'm seriously at my wit's end with his behavior at home and wish I knew what the hell his problem is.  I've taken away his iPod, made him write sentences ("I will not yell at Mummy", "I will change my attitude"), begged, name it, I've tried it.  And yet, I still get the sarcastic "You're welcome!" when he finally put down the huge drink of water he poured to avoid taking his shower after I told him several times that he needed to be in the bathroom now.

Am I too lenient?  I try not to be.  My daughter seems to understand that if I ask her to do something, she needs to do it.  I still get the occasional grumble from her, but she'll apologize right away when I call her out on it.  I know that no matter how bad things get, I'll never wail on the kid like I was subjected to...but for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, I need some suggestions.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

My sister Cate is coming out Saturday for a sleepover.  I cannot wait.  It's been since August that I've seen her, but it feels like a year.  We'll end up watching chick flicks with my daughter on the couch, all three of us snuggled up under blankets eating popcorn and talking smack about each  As much as I love my son, I'm kind of glad he'll be gone with The Others this weekend because I could really use some girl time.  She emailed me and asked me what we were doing this weekend and I replied, nothing that I know of.  She said, good because I want to come out to see you.  I burst out into tears in my work parking lot.  I told her that I needed her and she asked if I was okay.

I said yes.

I lied.

My bouts of insomnia are usually the result of an inordinate amount of stress that I've placed on myself and I let things just fester and smolder and then at the most inopportune moment, those things explode and I have to scramble around to pick up the pieces.  This week has been one of those explosions and while I've contained my breakdowns for the drive in and drive home from work, that's just making me more upset.

I'm not even sure what my actual problem is...just that there is  How's that for helpful?

All I can do is pick myself up, hit the proverbial "reset" button at work to start the new quarter/year end bullsh*t, hope that my kid tones down the sarcastic attitude (NO idea where he got THAT from) and enjoy my sister and daughter time this weekend.

Going to give this elusive sleep thing another go.  Until we meet again...


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oh Blog O' Shame Award, How I've Missed You

Click here to be taken to the homepage of the awarded blog

This blog author has started a blog to keep her family and friends (and us, the people of the world) up to date on the adoption journey she and her husband have embarked on.


In her post from September 29, she talks about how they decided on Azerbaijan from where they want to get a baby.  I give her props.  She did her homework.  She contacted an agency to find out what the requirements were for three countries (Ethiopia, Azerbaijan or Bulgaria) and the one that had the most babies, less wait time and wouldn't mind that she and her husband have only been married one year won.  

Can't adopt from Romania because you have to have dual citizenship.  Can't adopt from Haiti because you have to have been married for over ten years and be over 35.  Another country charges a $10,000 humanitarian fee. 

Sigh.  What's another $10,000 when you're already shelling out money to get a kid?  Apparently it's too much for this PAP.

Oh, and they didn't choose domestic adoption because:

With domestic adoption you have to think about relationships with the child’s birth-mother, your involvement in the pregnancy, open versus closed adoption, the age of the child, will you be involved in foster care or potentially adoption from a foster care program, etc.

Right.  Because taking the child thousand of miles away from their country is ALWAYS a great idea.  At least they won't have to deal with the pesky birth mothers.

But the part of the blog that REALLY got me angry is this:

Of course there are many ways to serve the Kingdom of God. You do not need to adopt to prove you are a Christian.
But if you want to be a Super-Christian you can adopt a child AND take care of this widow.
Old LadyYou go, girl.

As one of my friends said when she saw this blog, if you really wanted to be a mega super duper Christian, you would take care of the widow and use the money you're spending to get that child you covet and help her keep her children instead of taking them away from the only stability and home they've had.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stop Saying That!!

There's a lot of phrases that turn my stomach when it comes to adoption.  Most of them are said by PAPs (Potential Adoptive Parents).   Just to name a few:

Gag.  No, you're not.  You've filled out a bunch of paperwork so you could be put on a list with other potential adopters who are waiting for a woman to decide that she can't parent her child.  Instead of offering her assistance, you're taking her baby.  Big difference from being pregnant.  And for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, don't compare morning sickness to paper cuts.  It bugs the crap out of me.

I hate this phrase.  A lot.  But what I hate more than the words themselves are the pictures of children being brought into an airport with tons of people waiting for a couple with a child who has been adopted from another country.  The scared, blank looks of those children haunt me.  They don't know anyone who is trying to hug them..and the only reason they cling to their new parents is because they are the lesser of two evils.  

Yeah, unless I skipped a whole year of Biology class in high school, I'm pretty sure that's not possible.  Oh, I know it's supposed to be lighthearted and a happy little thing to say.  But what it's actually doing is glossing over the fact that the baby you're coveting as your own actually has another mother who is mourning the loss of their child.

No, adoption is another word for LOSS.  Loss of your heritage..loss of your original birth certificate...loss of your sense of identity...and the loss of your natural parents.  Explain to me how that equals love because it doesn't make sense.  

And finally...

::runs from the room screaming::  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!

If your God considers the loss of the mother/father/child relationship to be a gift, I'll stick with mine, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ten Years Gone

Another year has passed.  Another year of dealing with the anniversary of my adoptive father's death.  I am not sure what to say that hasn't been said before.

And so, before the thunderstorm arrives full force and knocks out the power, I'm going to link to the posts I wrote on each September 12th the past four years on "Out of the Fog".

September 12, 2009 ~ Tapping Out

September 7, 2010 ~ Blooming

September 12, 2011 ~ Beautiful Mourning

September 12, 2012 ~ Coincidence?

I'm doing okay.  Just keeping busy and trying not to dwell on the feelings.  When I do think about it, I get confused.  You'd think it would be easy to say, "Thank goodness he's dead...he sucked!".  But it's not as simple as that.  As bad as it was growing up in that house, he was still my father.  And I still grieve, even ten years later.  But am I grieving for him as my father?  Or the thought of what should have been?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Potato Potahto

Normally at this hour I'd already be on my way to work, but I have a training class in another building at 8:30 am so I have time to kill at home before leaving.  Nice to be able to sit around for an extra hour, but I don't know what to do with myself.  I am sitting here, hoping that a blog post emerges from this early morning brain.

And so, a rant on this Monday morning.

Oh don't sit there and act all surprised...ranting is what I do best.

I use the word "adoptee" a lot on my blogs.  Kind of hard not to when you are one, right?  What confuses me is the fact that the spell checker doesn't recognize the word.  See?

If, according to Blogger, I'm not supposed to use "adoptee", then what suggestions does it give me?


Most of us have heard about "Positive Adoption Language", or rather, as an adoptee, have read about what adoption agencies and potential adoptive parents think the language should be to make themselves feel better.

Perhaps the fact that the word "adoptee" isn't recognized is just another trick of the adoption agencies.

"No no, the kid isn't an adoptee..they are an "ADOPTED CHILD".  Let's make adoptee a bad word so they'll all start using the right terminology!"

Hey, think that's not possible?  These are the same people who cringe when someone uses the term "natural parent" to describe the people who gave them life.

To them, I say, read the definitions and weep.

Notice that on the definition of "parent", the first line talks about the people who gave you life and the second line talks about being raised by other people.

Personally, I choose to say "natural"...others may use "original"..and others may choose to say "birth" parents.  The point is, you can't force someone to use the terms you feel most comfortable with, if those aren't what work for him or her.

You want to call me an adopted person behind my back?  Fine.  I've surely been called  But I will continue to refer to myself as an adult ADOPTEE...loudly and proudly.

Friday, September 6, 2013

After Five Years and Fifty Eight Days

Before reunion, I was definitely a lost soul. Growing up, I’d listen to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” (Hey, I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s, don’t judge) over and over…wondering why my mother and father didn’t think I was good enough to keep.  I mean, my adoptive parents certainly thought I was a burden, so I internalized all that.  If neither set of parents wanted me, shouldn’t that tell me something about how bad of a person I truly was?  I was definitely in a lot of emotional pain as a child.  Because of the emotional and sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my adoptive mother and father I honestly thought that if I could just disappear, the pain would stop.  Would I characterize that as suicidal?  To a certain extent, yes.  But instead of taking that drastic step, I turned to self-harm practices instead.  I’d find the box cutters my adoptive father kept in his basement workshop.  At night, after my mother stopped screaming at me, I would take the blade, and while I sobbed, cut long lines into my leg.  I remember just staring at the red lines, feeling the whoosh of adrenaline.  It was the only way I could get to sleep some nights, switching the emotional pain for the physical pain.  Wishing for a band aid for the red lines across my heart instead of just across my legs.

As a teenager, I never fit in.  I was the awkward looking girl with the thick plastic framed glasses (because they were the cheapest to buy) and the permed hair that belonged on an elderly woman, not a 13 year old girl.  Puberty was horrible.  I started gaining weight.  And by that I mean, I went from 110 pounds to 130 pounds.  If I were that weight now, I’d be rejoicing and shouting, “Hallelujah!” all over town, but back then, I just felt fat and out of place.   I remember in 7th grade there was a junior high dance that was coming up…and one of the boys I secretly had a crush on, but who didn’t even notice me, asked if I wanted to go to the dance.  I looked at him warily, was about to say yes and he started laughing and said loudly, “Too bad no one would ask  you!  F*cking four eyes…”.  I think that’s when I stopped speaking to any of my classmates.  I’d only talk in class if the teachers called on me but other than that, I just went through the days in silence.  Alone.  And still I cut.  Adding more red lines to my already raw legs and heart.

I’d actually have to say that things got worse when I got older and did lose the weight and managed to get boys to notice me.  My self loathing didn’t change.  If anything, it got worse.  When I started going out with my first boyfriend (he may read this blog so I’m going to tread lightly here), I was ecstatic.  I’d waited so long for someone to care about me and want to be with me.  Pretty pathetic if you think about it now.  Most girls go through their awkward first loves and first breakups when they are 13, 14 and 15…me, I was 19.  And when things ended between us for the second time, I was heartbroken, but not surprised.  Again, if my own parents thought I was trash, how could I expect anyone to want to stick around me?  I know that I was clingy with him.  I thought that if I was cool enough, he’d want to hang around me 24/7.  He’d want to bring me with him when he hung out with his friends because I was just that awesome.  If I could go back in time and talk to the 19 year old me, I’d tell her to grow the hell up.  You don’t need someone else to make you happy until you can make yourself happy.  Still working on that one, but at least I figured it out.  Better late than ever. 

Life moved on…more loves came into my life..more loves left.  I am most proud of the children I have because of those lost loves.  It wasn’t until I had my daughter at the age of 25 that I was able to see myself in someone else’s eyes…and to feel real love for another human being.  It was the same with my son.  Having the kids also brought up a whole other can of worms though in regards to being adopted.  Looking at their sweet baby faces, feeling their strong grip around my index finger…giving them up to someone else to raise seems unimaginable.   I try not to judge natural mothers too harshly, unless they are complete jerks of, because no one really knows what goes through someone else’s head to make that kind of decision.  Many of my close online friends are natural mothers and some of the strongest women I know.  But for me personally, that was when I realized that I wanted my story.  I wanted to know why I was given away.

That was back in the day of limited internet capabilities though.  I had no idea of knowing how or where to find my mother.  Gradually, search engines evolved and online forums sprouted up.  I put my name and the information I had out there, but never got even a nibble.  So, I decided that I had to just be as content as possible with my little family and move on.

Most of you know the rest of the story from there.  My natural mother ended up finding me on Myspace on July 11, 2008..five years and fifty eight days ago.

I’m on the other side of the fence now.  And while some days the grass is greener, there are still questions for which I may never find the perfect answer.

Even knowing a lot of my story, I’m still not completely satisfied.  I know that my natural mother was sixteen when she gave birth to me.  I know that most of my mother’s relatives knew about me, as did my brother and sister (after their father told them to “be good otherwise Mommy might give you away like she did to another bad baby”).  I know the joy I felt being told again and again how much I fit in with the rest of the clan.  I know where my freckles came from and my tendency to burn in the sun after ten minutes.  I know where my short stature comes from and I know that my sarcastic sense of humor is nature, definitely not nurture. 

But some days, I still feel like a lost soul.  I have no clue what happened to me between the time my mother left the hospital and I was dropped off at the adoption agency to meet my adoptive parents and sister.  That bothers me.  I have a real problem with the not knowing.  I now have two FBook profiles.  One that hides my true feelings about adoption, for the most part anyway, and one on which I can be completely honest.   It’s only been through talking with other adoptees, both in reunion and not, that I realized that I do fit in somewhere.  Yes, sometimes it’s like we’re all on the Island of Misfit Toys, but it’s also our own close knit family.  Only another adoptee can truly understand what it’s like to feel this complete and yet incomplete at the same time.  I wish none of us had to go through this journey, but at least we’re not alone.