How do you let go?  

Friday, May 29, 2009

In a recent conversation with a friend, I found myself suggesting she let go of her daughter. Not to adoption, but rather to life itself. This child is 18 and smart, but for some unknown reason, she clings to excuses rather than the fact that she needs to get out there and make a life for herself.

It is so hard for me to say those words without feeling the pain of surrender. The mother is afraid that her daughter will never forgive her, she will leave and never come back, she will blame the mother for throwing her out instead of standing by her. I understand the mothers feelings, I really do. All too loud and clear comes back the feelings of "she will hate me", "she won't want anything to do with me", "she will never look for me", and it hurts. But there comes a time in every child's life that they need to go. They need to step outside the realm of the family unit, and find out who they are as an individual. Especially if that child's actions or lack of action is causing problems within the family unit.

To listen to her talk on the phone, cry, say she can't live without her daughter in her life, is so familiar, that it almost haunts me. The thought of never seeing her daughter again is what keeps her from taking any kind of real action toward helping her daughter find out who she is and what she's capable of. The fact that the mother herself is an adoptee, complicates the situation even further. Because she was abandoned by her own mother, because she felt alienated herself growing up, she struggles with where to draw the line in regard to her own daughter. I do not disagree with her on this, but feel sometimes the best thing you can do is let go. This child is not an infant, she's by no means helpless. She is "quite" capable of not only functioning on her own, but very possibly becoming an extremely influential member of society, she just needs direction and a chance to spread her wings. She needs to fine tune her passion a bit but who didn't at her age. Passion is what creates influence. If you are not passionate about something, you will never convince anyone of your position on it, and this girl has passion, about a lot of things.

I don't have a crystal ball to prove that the relationship between these two women will survive, but I do have faith that as close as they are to one another, nothing, will stand between them in the long run. I base my opinion on my own relationship with my daughter. We had many obstacles, and still, still, were able to defy all the odds, all the naysayers, all the road blocks and put together a relationship. We did what we needed to do, no matter how painful, and it was painful, but we succeeded, we conquered, and we built a decent life for the two of us.

I know its completely different, as mine and my daughters life started with letting go. I can't help but believe that there comes a time in every parent child relationship that going, and letting go, is the very thing that keeps us together. Some baby birds fly out of the nest, others need a gentle shove, most find their wings. This young lady is so ready to fly, so ready to leave her mark on the world, her fear is of the unknown, and it is stifling her, eating up precious time, robbing her of her place in the universe, and causing very possibly irreparable damage to her family unit.

My problem is finding words that don't sound like an old pro at walking away from your kids. I heard it myself in our conversation, I felt it in the quiet moments when nothing was being said. It rang in my ears, "it was easier for you, you did it at birth". It wasn't easier for me. Nor will it be easy for her. But I can't help but feel that the focus in this situation is on the wrong aspect of it. It feels like the focus in on abandonment instead of succeeding, on being resented instead of helping a child find their way, on giving up on a child instead of that child finding out just how resourceful she really is, on letting go out of love and respect. Not to be confused with "your mother loved you so much she let you go", but rather I have every confidence in you that you will not only succeed, but kick some serious ass in this world, you just need to get out there and do it.

I also felt in those quiet moments on the phone, a new found respect for women who surrendered their children. This is cutting so deep on this mother, that she feels emotions very similar to those of us who never knew how our children were doing. I heard the unasked questions, "is this what your life was like?" "how did you live through this?" We didn't address those issues because this conversation was not about me. But the lines of similarity were there, and it was killing me to relive them again through her.

I will continue to express that the focus should not be abandonment or betrayal, but a normal aspect of life, and hope something hits a cord, that something brings my words into focus. I do fear it coming at the expense of my relationship with this woman. That would be devastating, because she means so very much to me. She is in every sense of the word, like a daughter.

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If Only You Were Here  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I called Rachael a few days ago and told her I was filing my formal complaint with her. I told her not to take it offensively, but I needed to say it. GOD, "if only you were here", closer to me. I could really use your help. I have so many things to do, I am almost overwhelmed, to which she responded, I feel the same way.

My one son is graduating this year. Trying to get him to pick a college was like pulling teeth. He waited until the very last minute because he had two that were very appealing to him and he wanted both rolled into one. I have to admit, I found great humor in watching him struggle with this. Not that I'm trying to be mean, or am laughing at him in a hateful way, but more watching him make his very OWN first grown up decision. It was humorous and painful all at the same time. We argued, I pushed for a decision, he got frustrated, walked away, came back, tried to ignore it, and in the end chose to not move 4,000 miles away. His decision made me happy and sad at the same time, because either would have been an excellent choice and life experience. Now that he has chosen a college, it has been my responsibility to get him in. Due to him being in school all day and being part of the track team, there is no time for him to do most of these things himself. I am almost overwhelmed by all the paperwork. Add to that a graduation party and all the other stuff that needs to be done before he leaves, and I have enough on my plate to occupy my entire day.

My other son has been taking modeling classes, and is slotted for a rather large audition. Who knew this was going to go so far. I thought 6 months of classes and it would be over. NOT!!
We go down state every other weekend for grooming, so he will do well in his big competition. Since we don't have the extra cash for his plane ticket, hotel room, and everything in between, I have been fund raising during the day to try and come up with some of this cash. Add to that a new grand child on the way, and I chauffeur the newly expectant mother to and from doctor appointment, (not complaining) and my plate is pretty full.

Hubby had hernia surgery, needed a month off work with no pay, we have another kid living with us who is absolutely great, but also has needs that his own family will not help with, and all the little things like the lawn mower doesn't work this year, ( somehow that is my responsibility) all the vehicles need repair, (again up to me to make arrangements not only to get them fixed, but find the money to pay for it and still keep up with the bills) the yard and the house are in desperate need of attention, you get the picture.

All three boys are in track and our school won regional, this means extra meets in far away places. That translates into money for food times 3. They went to team state competitions yesterday, and will be going to individual state competition this next weekend, money times 3 again.

My business has all but defunked due to the lack of time I have to put into it, and the fact that the economy has most people buying less than their necessities. I am one person. I do the way more work than if I had a job.

So I called my daughter, who's life is eerily parallel to mine, she has the same things going on but on a younger scale. None of hers are off to college this year, but she has more of them.

We have talked about moving closer to one another, but neither of us will move. I'm not taking my son out of the school he has spent his entire life in, and his brother got to graduate from. I'm not moving back downstate where the crime rate is ten fold of what I have here. I'm not leaving without my husband who has a daughter in the next town, and I don't want to give up what I struggled so hard to set up for my family, which is residence in a small town. I moved here for peace of mind.

It's not that she lives in the big city, far from it, but it's still not like here. I know she would love it if she ever got the chance. Which brings me to why I am posting about it. Although I would love nothing more than to be near my daughter, see her face every day for the rest of my life, I have to admire her reasons for not coming. She will not leave her parents. I have to admit there is a big ouch for me in that statement, but it's not because she sees them as her parents. That's the part that gives me pride. I can't argue with that.

They have 20 years on me age wise and they need her to be close, especially now. I watch my own mother, who is almost the same age, and I am very thankful that my brother lives blocks away.

My daughters life is every bit as full as mine. If she moved closer with everything she has on her plate, how much time would we really have together?

I honestly believe we would be able to orchestrate a coexistence, but in order to do that our lives would be so intertwined that it would be blended into one. We would have to split the daily tasks of shopping, bill paying, appointments, down the middle each taking an end of town and getting it done. We would be able to attend those school functions and sporting events of each others children that each misses out on by not being closer. I could even help with her parents.

It will never happen. Her parents would never think of moving, their whole life has existed right where they are. Besides why would they even consider moving so that Rachael could be closer to me? Makes no sense. She would be too far away from her sister, who at the moment doesn't need anything, but might some day. Her husbands kids would be too far away from their mother, they would lose all their friends and have to start over in a new school system. My remaining kids will be grown and gone in two years time and I will be patiently awaiting my step daughters 18th birthday so I can get the heck on with my life. It just doesn't make sense.

As sad as this makes me, to know there will never be a way that we can live closer to one another, I have to accept that it is in fact our reality. We won't live closer to one another, not unless something ridiculous happens, and the thoughts that run through my head on that one are just plain scary. We never will have more time together, she won't get to see her brother run track unless he runs in college and he isn't planning on doing that. She might get to see her other brother if we can schedule a weekend, but most track meets are during the week. Besides, she just got called back to work, and if she goes on second shift, the time we do have together via telephone comes to an end too. They say nothing is impossible, but the possibility of us being closer geographically is looking as close to impossible as anything might.

So we both sigh, talk of what it might be like "if only you were here", and accept the fact that it just plain isn't possible. We haven't gotten to a point yet (and I hope we never do) that more is demanded of one another. We both would love more, but we both respect each others reasons for not being able to give more. This is our life, this is all there is, and we accept it.

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Outide looking in....  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Over time our reunion has taken some real turns. At first Lori and I treated each other with kid gloves, we were both cautious and leery of the other. My feelings are that this stemmed from the crap choices we both made in younger years. Neither of us seem to have much common sense when it came to the people we brought into our lives. We both had checkered pasts with people that had broken our hearts. Not just in romantic relations either, friends and family alos dug their claws into us and each of them left an invisible scar.
So when the time came for us to have our time-we both viewed the other as a threat. "what dose she want?", "what did she mean by THAT?", "is she setting me up for something?", "whats her REAL reason for wanting to be with me?"

the questions were unending, the uneasiness was evident and to be honest-it was diffcult for both of us to view the other for what they truly were-family.
It was slow and tedious for the first few years...yes I said years. When I say both of us were leery, I'm not exaggerating. Self perservation was very high in both of us.
But we both wanted it so bad. We were both willing to take what came and walk away broken, beaten and half dead. We are like that. When we commit-it's a fight to the death, we both had proven that by our past track record in relationships. We don't give in without a fight and we don't back down until the last minute.
Funny how we were doing the same thing in the same way and had never encountered someone else like this before. I was just like her, she was just like me. We were either going to make this the most glorious things in our lives or we were going to kill each other. And with the two of us-it truly was a coin toss on what direction it would go.
But as you can see-we made it.

Now last night we had a conversation. It really gnawed at my mind and I find myself struggling greatly with it. I have never had interest in Lori's family. In my mind, they are there, but meh, whatever. If I never met her brother or mother I would have been fine. And if I never ever meet her other brother, I will sleep just fine at night. OH WELL, he is nothing to me. I do search the pictures, looking for that glimpse of myself in those strange faces. It's not there. I don't share resemblance to them. Just Lori. But they honestly mean nothing to me. As long as I have Lori and my brothers, the others can take a hike.


Jim's family makes me crazy. I find myself daydreaming of their acceptance. I search the few faces I have seen online desperate to see myself. Not like Lori's family pics, that is curiosity, with Jim's family it's more like desperation. WHY??? Why do I feel that? Is it due to the deeply passionate but oddly distant relationship of Jim and myself? Is it because he so truly believed I would be accepted and told me over and over about how it was going to be so wonderful-and it's not? Disappointment? That whole 'wanting what you can't have' thing kicking in?

I don't know-but I hate it. I am not one to beg for love. If a boyfriend cheated on me I didn't slit their tires or bash their windows-I walked away. Screw 'em, don't need 'em. If a friend betrayed me I didn't drag them through the mud or spill any dirty tidbit I knew-I let them sit alone in their own mess. Oh well, hope they are happy, see 'ya.
But the entire mass of people (yes I mean mass, it's a huge family) want nothing to do with me and it eats at my brain like a cancer. I have met one aunt, her husband, my father and their mother (my g-ma) THATS IT. I don't think I ever meet the others. Jim continues with his dilusions that we are going to have family trips, spend time together, just get to know each other. But I am convinced he is making an effort to smooth over the huge build up he gave me from day one. He believed in his heart that his long lost, unknown daughter was going to swoop in and take her place in the family. He was happy to find me and he expected them to welcome me with open arms and all would be like a fairy tale. And they didn't. They literally want nothing to do with me. Not even to satisify curosity. I am nothing to them, will never be anything and I am certainly not worth the time to meet, even once.

Normally I would shrug and just move on. But this makes me ache. To add insult to injury, I compeltely question my value in Jim's life. At first when we spoke you could hear the excitement in his voice. Even if we talked about basically nothing-he was overjoyed to just hear me on the other end. But not any more. Now it's pleasant, he tells me how much he misses me, but I can't feel it any more. I understand that like all relationships things settle, I don't expect backflips just because I picked up the phone, but maybe, just once in a while HE could call ME. He could spend more than 10 minutes on the phone with me. He could say something other than "what do you need? is things ok? is something wrong?"
No...nothing is wrong I tell him, I just miss you. Now he works obscene hours. I would not be surprised if he literally worked 18-20 hours of the day. He completely comsumes he world with work, and there is simply no time for me. Maybe I am diluting myself. Maybe his curosity is curbed and so he is ready to drop it. Not that he doesn't love me, I know for a fact that he does. But more along the lines of he can not, will not make room for me in his life. And neither will his family. At least he had the decency to meet me and form an opinion of me before he cast me aside. They would not even be bothered by that. Out of sight-out of mind.

I hate, hate, hate that not one of them will give me even one iota of a chance. The one aunt I have met is gracious, she has befriended me online but I wonder if it is because she wants me around of if its more like she wants to keep tabs on me and streamline my contact. Her husband, well, he thinks I'm the greatest, but I don't dare initiate further solo contact with him. I did not come to them to cause civil unrest among them, I just wanted to know them. I can not and will not put him against their firing squad for my own piece of mind. He has to live every day with them, I do not.

I just don't know how to cope with the lack of caring in this reunion. Lori and I were leery but willing to go down in flames to make it work. We are fighters and we take care of your own, I really had no right to assume that it would be the same on Jim's side, but I guess I did. He told me it was going to be great, aunt told me that, grandma told me that and aunts hubby told me that. And I believed them. I should have kept myself on guard and stuck to my game plan, but I let them in and now I am paying the price. In the grand scheme of things with reunion I have been very lucky. There are some that have been in far worse positions that me and they survived. I just want to find a way to give up on it and walk away, let it be, without feeling the sting for the next 36 years.

Ahhhh....adoption. An emotional mind rape of a lifetime.

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The Blame Game  

Monday, May 18, 2009

In reading and communicating with several adoptee's, it seems that for some totally surprising reason, I am more accepted as a first mother than I ever thought possible. I root for the underdog, because I am an underdog most of the time. One of the little people who gets stuck on the bottom of some unknown shoe, size 900EEEE in the grand scheme of life and government.
But for some reason I am accepted in this small yet growing circle of never seen friends.

It's no secret that I chose adoption for my daughter 36 years ago. If you are unfamiliar with why I chose, you will have to go through old posts here to find out. I don't have the strength or the time to write it out again.

I have had my share of strangers judge me on my deed and not my reasoning for so long that I have accepted who I am in their eyes. I don't agree with their opinions of me or how they came about forming them, but I have accepted it none the less. They know less than half the story and it is not my responsibility to share every detail of my life with them in an attempt to gain recognition or acceptance. You don't like me, okay move on, next......

So to find that the very thing that got me my label as "one of those women" is now a source of recognition and respect, is quite surprising to me. You see, the envy I have felt toward the women who were indeed completely coerced into surrendering their children was overwhelming at times. I so wanted to be able to say that this had happened to me. I wanted it to be someone else's fault. I didn't want to be responsible for my daughter ending up being an adoptee. But I was responsible. It was my idea, stupid as it was, no one put those thoughts in my head but me.

Oh to be able to say I was duped by the system, I was taken advantage of, I didn't know any better. Which was half true, I didn't know any better, but I still didn't have to make that choice. I chose to send my daughter away to live with strangers, and it sucks. I have never found anything but sorrow in my decision.

So for me to find faceless friends who seem to think its respect worthy that I own up to being the boob who suggested my daughter become a statistic, is puzzling to say the least. I wanted to be like everybody else. I wanted to be duped and blameless. I wanted the same story as others who had no choice. Why did I have to be the only one who chose this?

But this is what I have learned, my daughter was the one who had no choice, I did, and I made my choice based on my reasons that I still to this day feel were sound reasons. Since I made that choice of my own free will, and admit to it, I have gone from "one of those women" to a woman of substance, but only in certain circles. I'm still a crack whore to some and always will be.

Without letting it go to my head, I have to admit it feels good to have the respect of a handful of people who understand first hand. Most of the opinions made about me in the past came from people who's only link to adoption WAS their opinion. So to say I am honored might be a bit much, but the opinions of a handful of people I have never met, have excommunicated a lot of the negative portrayals of me (at least in my own head) and given me a new look at my self. Maybe even a bit more back bone. Who knew that telling the truth, no matter how much I wished it wasn't the truth, being the one who didn't have, no matter how much she wished she did, anyone to blame but herself, would end up winning me respect in the end.

You know those stupid emails that say pass it along and something really cook will happen to you by....? Yeah, this is way cool.

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Preparing for Reunion  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Recently on a popular board that my daughter and I frequent, there was a comment made about surrendering mothers that sparked a private conversation between myself and another surrendering mother. It started off simple enough, she felt the sting of bad jokes made at our expense. I understood that feeling, I myself felt like she did for many years. Somewhere along the line I just got tired. I got tired of feeling bad on command. Some one would take a shot at me for surrendering my daughter and I would immediately feel bad, just like they wanted me to. I would love to say I don't know how it happened or when but that would be a lie. I know exactly how it happened and when. Like Pinocchio I got rid of my strings.

One day as my older brother, (I'm being covert here, I have two older brothers and in case you know me, you still don't know which brother it is) and I got into a heated discussion about how screwed up I really am, because I wasn't acting the way he wanted me to, I wasn't giving in the way I usually do, and he once again threw in my face that I needed a fucking psychiatrist. Before he could finish that sentence I had spun around and for the first time in my life I screamed in his face (spit included) "How did I get that way". It was the last conversation I remember having with my brother. So I know how. I remember almost every detail of the day I set myself free from other peoples power.

So this woman who is offended is trying to get recognition for her feelings and as much as I sympathized with her, I'm not there anymore. I don't let those comments bother me any more. Do they sting? A little, but not enough to ruin my day, not enough to make me want revenge, or even an apology. Besides the context of the comment was said in a group that I knew didn't include me, and probably not her either. It was an in general statement said in fun, bad taste maybe but hey, I'm just as guilty at times. Bad jokes and dark humor are the only things that get me through some times.

So this conversation goes on and starts to take a different twist. We went from bad joke, to being grouped together, to being re-abused by our children, to preparing for reunion. Well the grouped together stuff didn't get much attention from me either. People are going to group other people together from now till eternity. It's just the way we're wired. Blacks, whites, Asians. Christians, gays, "you people", hell I'm a crack whore at 53 because the current stereotype for surrendering mothers is skinny as hell (I wish) and all methed out. CRACK WASN'T EVEN INVENTED when I was pregnant, but that's okay, I'm a crack-whore.

The abuse part got a lot of attention from me but it wasn't what she was looking for, obviously. She wants to be prepared, she wants the details from other peoples experiences as to how they handled their situations to store in the back of her brain as reserve in case it happens to her. I don't understand this at all. My mind reels with questions, "how are you going to know that its abuse and not just reunion garbage that needs to be gotten out and dealt with then put to rest"? We talked about drawing a line in the sand. My question was " How can you draw your line of enough based on other peoples experiences"? "How are you going to know when you have had enough based on the stories of others"? "Why are you so sure this is going to happen"? The concept of boundaries is all fine and well, but why run imaginary scenarios through your head like war strategies?

So when we get to the part about preparing for reunion, I envision two people standing facing each other. Each has a handbook, maybe labeled reunion for dummies or something. A sentence is said by one person, then the other person flips through their hand book for an appropriate response, that person responds and it's now the first persons turn to flip through their handbook and see what it is they are supposed to say in return to the comment made by the other person. This to me is where reunion has been taken too far. Without posting exactly what this other mother said, I will say that if you feel the need to study for this, you're going to fail.

There are books,TONS of books, there are web sites, hang outs, blogs, forums, places you can go and discuss reunion, adoption, what it feels like, what it "was" like for someone else, but in the end no two reunions are alike. Having resources stored in your head isn't going to do you any good because they were someone else's experiences. Besides, as I tried to point out to her, in my oh so eloquent manner, it takes up valuable space.

I understand not being able to shut this shit off, I lived it for 28 years. I drank to make it go away, (smooth move on my part, I ended up with a drinking problem) that's what bothers me about this whole conversation. Instead of working on herself, instead of forgiving herself, and understanding that on her child's part there is simply more wait time required, HE'S NOT READY, she wants to continue to beat herself up, hold herself down, and read other peoples reunion stories, in order to prepare for her own.

If you want to know how this "might" pan out for you, it cost me many relationships, a few weeks in the hospital, a lot of money, therapy, jobs and friends, and I didn't even do the strategy thing. Sound like something you aspire to? keep it up, you'll get there.

My daughter and I read NONE of the books on the market about adoption, self discovery, reunion, or the effects of secrets and lies. Mostly because neither of us knew they existed. We talked to each other. We got to know each other slowly, we creeped into one an other's lives. It took time, it took understanding, it took not getting offended, or angry. It took having little to no expectations, and a lot of patience. It took doing it anyway even though we were both afraid. That's what worked for us. I'm not saying its the golden rule of reunion, I'm saying it took US, working at it, taking it in little chunks, quiting when it gets too overwhelming, picking back up when we both felt like we could do it again. But the main ingredient was US. Not some book, not someone else's memoirs, not a guide based on past reunions, just us.

"Be ready for anything" is a statement used in regard to reunion. It means you may be rejected again, it may not be how you expected it to go, you may be over whelmed with emotion, you may even feel like vomiting. It doesn't mean, study hard, have all the answers, be mentally prepared for any question. Reading is fine, talking to others and listening to their stories is okay, but trying to prepare for reunion based on others experiences, having your response to anything that may come up ready and waiting to be used is setting yourself up for failure. This isn't a battle ground, or a game show.

Reunion is fragile yet liberating. It requires honesty, respect and lots of space.
I'd hate to see anyone lose out in reunion because they didn't have the sense to be themselves, to give of themselves, and to allow the other person the space they need to make it work.

So in conclusion of this conversation. I wrote a short piece about how I'm not trying to disrespect her feelings, but instead trying to point out that she can reach a point of self respect that affords her the room to let a few bad jokes pass without taking them straight to heart and ruining her day. This was after she said that maybe that particular forum was not for her, that maybe it was time for her to move on. All I can think is that she wants to surround herself with people who feel the same pain, even though she strategizes against it. I probably shouldn't have but I told her that there is no way in hell I would base my reunion on incerpts from books, or let people who have spit on me my whole life stop me from having a relationship with my daughter just because they don't think I deserve one, and I reserve the right to draw my own line in the sand. I'll decide what is enough. Its been two days and there has been no response to the message I left.

No two reunions are a like, I hope she realizes that and finds what works for her.

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Would a Committment Make a Difference?  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For those who have not been following, Rachael and I have had several discussions lately about reunion, what makes some successful and what sabotages others. Most people know that we belong to a forum that allows opened discussion. Rachael posted a question about trying to regain that family bond early in reunion as opposed to starting off at ground zero as friends. Again most know that Rachael and I have chosen the friends path. I am her mother but not her mom. Our thoughts on that can be read in other posts on our blog. Come to think of it maybe I should use that as a topic and let it have its own paragraph or two. Something to ponder. Pffft, maybe I already have.

In reading some old emails I came across something that I thought might be helpful to others in reunion. It is something that Rachael had to do for me to get me to stop being so afraid of reunion.

Yes I was afraid of reunion. I wanted it more than anything, I was willing to do almost anything for it, yet I was afraid of rejection after she soothed her curiosity about who her first mother was. I wasn't sure I could handle that so I held myself in reserve.

To keep other comments I have made still in clear view, I feel it necessary to address some of the things I have said in the past that may give the impression I'm back peddling, but try to understand that reunion and surrender is emotion filled and extremes are not uncommon.

I have stated in the past that I was willing to let my daughter beat the crap out of me if she felt it was necessary upon reunion. I was willing to accept that in exchange for even a glimpse of her. I have also stated that after a few years in reunion that if I was to continue to be her personal punching bag, to be used when ever she felt it necessary to feel better about the issues she was left with because of my decision to surrender her, that I would probably walk away myself. I have had a long hard road accepting my decision, and no one could beat me up more than I could myself, and I took full advantage of punishing myself over my decision. Although very different extremes, I still mean what I said. I was willing to let her physically hurt me, but not for the rest of my life.

So this brings me to what I read in an old email. That she was in it for the long haul.

I was afraid of losing her again and I had grown so attached that I held parts of me back. She knew it, she could see it, she could tell that I struggled with responses at times because I was afraid of what she might think if I were to just be myself. After a few short weeks, (JOKING, it took years,) of her telling me that she was in it for the long haul, I started to believe it. I gave my true responses to questions, opinions, situations and tried to have faith that she would really accept me for who I am. Not only is she still around, but she actually likes me most of the time. I find it hard to believe than anyone could like me all of the time, but that's human nature. We have found that we have the same slightly ummm, okay we have the same "really" twisted sense of humor. And we are both very devoted to one another, fiercely at times, which is both scary and really cool.

So to get to my point, (oh yeah we're both fairly looong winded too) we would like nothing more than to find things that would help people in reunion. Every reunion is different, but Rachael and I are trying to find any thread of similarities that may help. She has already posted about a few and will continue to do so as they come up. By no means are we trying to state that if you "do this", you will have a successful reunion, but if we can find even one thing that could make the difference between successful and unsuccessful it would be worth it.

Do you think that telling the other person that you are in it for the long haul would put your mind at ease? Would it take away even a little of the fear of being rejected again as an adoptee or being rejected after soothed curiosity as a first parent? I honestly believe it helped me to forgive myself. If she could forgive me, accept me, and stay for the long haul, if she could give me that commitment, and that's what it is, a commitment, then I had no excuse to not forgive myself, begin to heal, and commit to my daughter for the time we had left.

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