Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family Tree

Looking through facebook for other adoption/reunion pages that have shared values with our story, I came across this image on a page called, "Adoption Reunion Stories."

What was disconcerting is that this was the only thing on the Facebook page. No comments, no stories, nothing else. It made it feel somewhat ominous or creepy. But, I thought visually representing the birthparents as the roots, the adoptive family as the branches and the adoptee as the trunk was clever, so I shared it with Kate.

Kate said she didn't know why, but that she found it polarizing. It caused me to pause and analyze the image more.

Looking at the picture again, I could see instantly what could be seen as negative by the birthmother. In this image, the birth family is kept underground, hidden, secret. I realized, this is a visual representation of closed adoption.

Although I was in a closed-adoption (where I didn't know my birthfamily growing up), because I've known Kate since I was 18, there are ways our reunion feels like an open adoption just because I've know her for so long.

So it got me thinking, if this is the image of the family tree in closed adoption, what would a family tree in open adoption look like? This is what I came up with...

A mangrove tree has an exposed root-system. Is messy and complicated, but it is amazing and the life around it thrives because of it. One quote I liked about mangroves in Wikipedia stated that they slow down the tidal water enough so sediment comes in. "In this way, mangroves build their own environment." 

That's what I think of adoptees in reunion or open adoptions - you have to build your own environment, one that is unique and nourishing for you. Also, a young tree is amazingly adaptable. "If it does not root, it can alter its density and drift again in search of more favorable conditions." Although the adoptee may not be able to choose their family or where they come from, they can drift until they find a better situation. 

So, for me, I'm more of a Mangrove tree. Everything's exposed, but life can thrive that way.


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

Please comment!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012 and Our Blogs' First Anniversary

Grey kitty is actually my husband, Dane! He did the voice when he was five.

It's been one year since we started blogging. I feel like we're just getting into the swing of things. I do find it interesting, all the strange ways we navigate through this complicated relationship, the ways things are different than with my family and the things that are the same.

Mother's Day is the perfect example of the complications that come up. I am not good at holidays, I'm not planful, I do not get things out in the mail ahead of time. I think about it, I agonize over it, but I can't do it. Oh, I have great ideas about the kids making cards and gifts and then it all coming together. But it doesn't quite happen.

This year, I held out, hoping I would get something together in time. By this afternoon, I came to terms with the fact that it wasn't going to happen and I called and ordered flowers for my mom. Sure, they're the typical and the generic, but they get the job done and I think that's what my mom wants (sure, hand-made cards from the kids would be a nice compliment to the flowers too, but the flowers would have to be a part of it).

Once I ordered the flowers for my mom, I figured I should get flowers for Kate as well. Maybe not as fancy a bouquet, maybe a less expensive one. Then I realized I didn't have her updated address. Then once I got all the information I needed...I just couldn't do it. Even though my mom wouldn't know if I sent something to Kate, it still feels a little like a betrayal.

I know Mother's Day is a fabricated holiday that's more about selling cards than meaningful ritual, but we can't get away from it any more than we can Valentine's Day chocolates. You just have to suck up that you have to do something to recognize the day.

For my mother's day last year, I went on slug safari. The one thing I want every Mother's Day is to go for a hike with all my boys - husband and the two little guys. Last year, we hiked at Tyron Creek Park. It was damp and cool, and we were hoping to see wildlife and we did in spades - in slugs. They were everywhere. Big and small, slimey all. It became a game to be the first to spot one.

This year, I told Reed, my youngest, just to make sure to not get me cut flowers. Flowers I can plant are great, I just don't want a bouquet. It took a little explaining, but he got it and now it's his job to make sure Dane and Quinn know too.

I suppose the easy thing to do would be to ask Kate what she would like for Mother's Day from me. Are flowers the right thing, or a card, or something like slugs? Then, if she tells me, and it doesn't feel right, then what? Then I'm just ignoring what she wants. So that probably wouldn't work.

Then I try to turn it around. I try to think how I would feel if my sons were to give something to someone other than me on mother's day. At first, it felt wrong, like it would bother me. But, if they were adopted, I think I would be so grateful to the birthmother that I would want to celebrate her myself on mother's day. How to recognize both?

I don't know. So I'll get my mother's day flower in just in time for my mom and will flake on Kate, not knowing which is better.


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

Please comment!