Depression

I feel like I don’t have the right to complain that I’m tired. I haven’t even been awake for five and a half hours yet. I’ve done nothing that would make me tired. It’s just my depression that’s causing this. And I feel like that’s not a good enough reason to allow me to complain.

A couple nights ago my depression decided to tell me that everyone was just sticking around to be nice and eventually they’d all show their true colors and abandon me. I cried. I knew it wasn’t true, but nothing in me would let me believe anything but what the depression was telling me. It was awful.

And in gearing up to go do a third session at a training weekend with my adoption agency, I feel like all my emotions are surfacing and not going away. The feelings of shame and embarrassment projected from my dad. The grief from placing my daughter two and a half years ago.

But this training is also bringing back happier things too. The overwhelming love the first time I held my daughter in my arms in the hospital. The amazing calm I felt the first time I met the couple I’d chosen as her parents. The smiles all the pictures of her elicit. The heartwarming little hugs from her when we visit every six months.

But this depression isn’t just all the adoption emotions. There’s more to it than that.

It’s the overwhelming feeling that no one cares.
It’s being ready for bed at 8:15, but knowing that you didn’t do anything to make you that tired.
It’s knowing that these feelings aren’t real, but being unable to deny them.
It’s wanting to cry at any point and not knowing why.
It’s no longer caring about the things you used to love and enjoy.
It’s isolating yourself away from everyone, including your family.
It’s sitting on your bed indecisive about what to do because you’re going numb.
It’s not sleeping at night.
It’s sleeping all through the morning and waking up at five minutes till noon.

The list could go on, but I’m going to stop there. This is just a little insight into what’s been going on in my head the last week or so.

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Dreams, Sparks, & Tornados

I struggle to concisely express the emotions I feel more often than not recently. The be frank, I haven’t even tried because I’ve been too busy trying to process what’s happening inside my head.

I dream of things that I know won’t happen.
I hold  onto sparks of ideas that are possible.
I feels like I’m standing in a tornado, wind whipping my hair across my face, no end in sight.

The best thing I can do for myself in those moments is find people to talk to, who are like safe storm cellars if you will – people who will listen and not judge or jump to conclusions about things.

I mean, I want to post about what’s causing these feelings, but it just doesn’t seem right. I fear all the potential reactions (mainly from family) – the pity, the anger, the judgement, the rejection, the denial, the confusion, the love and support. I know those last two seem like they don’t match the rest, or like they should outweigh all the others. But honestly, when you’ve seen and felt some of the other negative reactions for yourself, the sting of those is more prominent than the positive.

My father’s enormous shame about the adoption has left me in such a painfully difficult spot. I have to keep my social media mostly clear of adoption mentions that someone in the family could possibly think I have a connection to. I can’t participate in things on Instagram because too many of my family members follow me and have absolutely no idea about my daughter’s existence. It almost feels like I would have to create another identity online to be about to expose that part of who I am without having to worry about those reactions.

Finding Dory Reaction

I finally went to see Finding Dory in theaters (back on July 5th). I don’t like going right when movies open cause everyone’s there and it’s just too crowded for me, so I went with a friend on a Tuesday night.

I’ve seen a post going around Facebook from an adoptive mom saying that Finding Dory is a movie that should be screened before taking your kids to see it. And to some degree, I can understand that. But you also need to know your child and whether or not they can handle something like that. I feel like the adoptive mom who said it, and those who agree with her, are the ones who aren’t ready to have a discussion about the birthmother with their child. It’s really not that difficult.

This is what’s going around for everyone to see:

“WARNING! Before seeing Finding Dory, all foster/adoptive parents should preview the movie first! We thought our teenage bio kids & 9 yr.-old adopted son (we’ve had him for 4+ yrs) could see it without us previewing it. Our kids sat in the row in front of us. Halfway through the movie, our 100 lb., very tall son, got up and came and sat on my lap for the duration of the movie. Dory has childhood flashbacks throughout the movie as she seeks to find her birth parents. The movie deals with multiple levels of abandonment and loss. While the ending is sweet as she is reunited with her birth parents & we realize her birth parents were looking for her too, there are elements of the ending that can have detrimental results for our adopted kids.

1) It was Dory’s forgetfulness that caused her to be separated from her parents…. basically, her separation was her fault.

2) Her birth parents were physically, emotionally, & mentally stable and ACTIVELY seeking for her. This is not the case for MOST of our tender-hearted kiddos. This birth parent ‘fairytale image’ can create a false image in their forming minds.

3) At the end of the movie, once Dory, Marlin & Nemo find Dory’s birth parents, they ALL (including the birth parents) travel back together to Dory & Nemo’s home and all live TOGETHER Happily Ever After. Some young foster/adopted kids might think that is the end goal.

So, bottom line… preview the movie first & evaluate for each child. There are some heavy topics brought up in the movie that are difficult for every foster/adopted child to deal with even at older ages, so don’t think this cute Disney movie is for everyone.”

Everyone has been seeing/hearing the adoptive parent side of it, but I think now it’s time to hear the birth parent side of it from one of us…

Let me touch on each of this woman’s points before going into my rant about what I think happened here.

1) Dory’s short term memory issues aren’t something she asked for – it just happened to her. If it was out of her control, it can’t really be her fault that she was separated from her parents.
It’s like saying that a child facing a challenge due to some medical issue they have, it’s their own fault if they fail. They never asked to have the medical issue, so it can’t be their fault.

2) I am a birth mother who more than likely could have cared for my child when they were born, but I knew that I couldn’t provide everything I wanted them to have. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be part of my child’s life. That’s what open adoption is for. I still get to have a relationship with them, and be able to have conversations as they grow up about why I made the decision I did.

3) If you raise your adopted child to know who we are, allow us to be part of your/their life, and have conversations about why we made the decision we did then things won’t become complicated like that.

Okay, now for me to talk about what I think happened here: 

Honestly, I think that this woman hasn’t had (or even tried to have) a conversation with her adopted son about his birthmother. Now, maybe they don’t know about his birthmother. That could be part of the issue here. But I think it comes down to how comfortable the mom is with permitting the birthmother to be part of their lives.
When you have an adopted child, you have to know that things like this can (and inevitably will) happen, and figure out how you’re going to handle them. To me, it sounds like this adoptive mom hadn’t thought it would happen or thought about how to handle it. I can only hope she sat down with her husband and her son at home after the movie and talked about everything.

I also think that the mom is dealing with other things that are frustrating her and taking it out on the movie. There could be a lot of things that factored into her making that post, and I don’t know about them, so I can only write this response based on what I read and how I interpret it.