A couple of years ago I wrote a post titled "Taking back my Power" and when I came to blog tonight, I decided that is again exactly what I have done in a completely different way.
In our lives, we all have fears... heights, spiders, dirt, speech-making etc (and most of these I have as well!!) but one of my BIGGEST fears in the last 13 years, is standing tall and putting my foot down when it comes to my girl. Fear because I know in standing up and putting that foot down I know so well it could cost me so much and the pain that cost causes has me fearing in a totally paralysing way.
So today, I faced that fear.
As I posted a few weeks ago, I had a visit approaching. That visit was supposed to be today however was cancelled yesterday on account of my daughter having an illness. Yes, part of me has wondered how true that was but I do think she was sick. And the thought of that was enough to anger me yesterday because hearing that she is sick (nothing serious) and knowing she has probably been sick many times in the past 13 odd years and I have not been present for those years rubs in just some of what it is that has been lost. However I digress.
After reading a few blogs this weekend, two by other mothers and one from an adoptive mother I love and respect (yes, shock horror, I DID say that!) and an email from another mum friend, I came to the conclusion it was time to speak my mind about the visits we were having. When I received the text about my daughter, her adoptive 'father' suggested I email next week to reorganise another visit. I decided now was my time to take back some of the power I had lost all those years ago and let them know it was time for us to get to know Amber without them; i.e. have visits without them.
I am under no illusion they will allow this. In fact I know they probably won't given the way they have dictated the way the visits will work until now but I am no longer comfortable with keeping my mouth closed and ignoring the proverbial white elephant in the middle of the room.
I will include the text of the email below. Before anyone decides to comment however, I would suggest if you don't know my story or my situation you refrain if you cannot add anything positive or helpful. I share so those I have gotten to know and love can know what is going on, not to be told what to do or how to do it. The email is sent now so there is nothing that can be done about it even if you did want to persuade me not to.
Thanks for getting back to me about Amber’s illness. I hope she feels better soon and can enjoy the rest of the school holidays.
I was thinking maybe the 1st of May for the reschedule if Easter weekend is out. Or even the couple of days after the weekend like Monday or Tuesday as they are public holidays? Just my thoughts anyway.
I guess I should be honest with you about where I am at with visits. Personally I feel it is time Amber was able to come to us on her own. I understand why you don’t want her to however I would never do anything to hurt her or upset her so I don’t think your fears are necessary. She is now 13 years old; at that age I was looking after people’s children on my own in a different country and was a lot more independent than Amber is. I am not comfortable in our current arrangement and cannot relate to her with you and xxx there given our history.
I have played ‘the game’ for almost ten years now but honestly, what happened to take Amber from me will never go away or be forgiven. It can’t be; its just too big. What happened to me in losing Amber almost destroyed me and has robbed me of a lot of living. Adoption is not a beautiful thing; it destroys families and I am not the only one who says this.
Despite this and how I feel, I have done my best. My intention with wanting visits with just her is to get to know her. Nothing sinister. Currently I feel she doesn’t open up because she feels the tension. If she had the chance just to be without worrying where everyone is at, then I think we would all be much more comfortable. I get what I have told you will not be welcome, however I need to be honest. You are not the only considerations in this; it affects all my children; all three of them and my parents.
I know I risk losing all chance to see her after this. I am fine with that because I am no longer a willing participant in playing happy families and if that is the price of honesty, then that is the price I pay. I want to get to know my daughter for who she is without all the pressure and I don’t ask all that much really. I am not holding my breath however but leaving it with you.
In sending this email, it represents so much to me about how far I have come. I realised today I have been allowing them to continue holding all the cards in the last few years by dictating how often and the terms of these visits. Every visit has involved a lengthy preparation time; a steeling of seeing my daughter's adopters and pretending as if everything is okay. My daughter and I barely talk and we have a fairly miserable time. I have asked her if she likes the visits and she has assured me she does and yet they are so painful and as we have no real time together I feel they are a waste of time. I feel if she didn't have to worry about them standing over her, she could relax a little and we could just get to know each other. It isn't like she is a little girl anymore. I can understand why they had to be there when she was younger but not after 9 odd years of visits. It is hardly as if we are going to take her and run!
Anyway, I know not what this will bring me and I am not sure I care all that much. Of course if they cut off all contact and visits with me I will be upset but then it isn't something I haven't experienced from them before. However this time I have the evidence to support me for the day she wants to know why and also they would have to explain to her why they are no longer allowing visits to continue.
All I know is I have been honest and true to myself and all my children. I mentioned in a previous post last year I want to be authentic and finally I feel I have been in terms of these visits.
So tonight, for the first time in many, many years, I go to bed a free woman. Free from the chains of an open adoption which has never really been all that open. Free from the games they have forced us to play. Free from them using my girl against me and holding her over me. I am her mother, she is my daughter and I will not allow my family to be used like this anymore. I have told her I love her and I will always be there for her. There is no more I can do as it is out of my hands due to adoption.
I. am. Free.