Thursday, September 17, 2009

When the Reunited Child Pulls Back

Photo by Ken Robbins

What happens in reunion that causes the adopted person to pull back? For some the reunion goes well, the catching up between adopted person and you, birth/first mother, clicks along lickety split, you have the sense that this is the continuation of a great relationship--for you did have one with your child in utero--but then, Wham! just when you lease expect it, your child--your adult child--pulls back and away.

Weeks go by without a word. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into years. And nothing. You wait, you wonder, you go over every word you said because surely--it was something you said, something you did. It is all over again: your fault.

At the Heart to Heart retreat last weekend in Boston, "pull back" were words that I heard with greater frequency than any of us first mothers/birth mothers would like, but "pull back" is so often a fact of reunion. Pull back. I found my daughter when she was fifteen and was reunited with her face to face a thousand miles and a few days later, and for many years we had what seemed to be a good relationship. Her adoptive family was also a part of the picture. I was never a secret.

But then, out of seemingly nowhere, she would be gone. Not return my phone calls. One time, when I went to Wisconsin and she still basically ignored me, saying only the minimum number of words to not seem more rude than she actually was. The first time we saw each other that weekend was in church at Sunday Mass. She of course knew I was in town. I was at the end of the pew. She came in and said hello to every possible person she could find to say hello to, though she knew I was there, waiting. When she slid in next to me, she looked away to say hello to one more casual acquaintance. I wanted to be swallowed up by the floor, for everyone who knew her in the small town, in the parish, knew exactly who I was, and her casual rejection of me hurt like hell. I waited. Finally she turned to look at me and say, nod Hello, Oh, it's you. You count less than all these other people and I've done my best to show you and everyone how little you matter. Oh, it's you.

Another mother whose seventeen-year-old daughter was living with her and the mother's other younger son, got up one day and simply walked out. Went to a girlfriend's before she went back to Georgia. Letters were ignored for years. Finally, one day a decade later, the mother heard from her daughter asking for health information and letting her know that she was now a grandmother. My friend went out and bought baby clothes and sent them along with all the medical history. Again, nothing. Again, years passed. And then one day she called, saying she and her husband and child would be in the vicinity, did they want to meet? Yes, of course. The visit went well, and then again...nothing.

Linda has written about attending her daughter's wedding, only to have her pull back afterward and maintain a relationship with Linda's Judas of a sister. Fellow blogger Jane's relinquished daughter is in pull-back mode. Some of the birth mothers who write here frequently talk about their fractured relationships, or no relationship at all following reunion.

It hurts. When you want to have a relationship with your child, and they do not, it hurts.

What can we do? Often times, nothing. The reasons for the pull back probably have nothing to do with anything you said or did, but happen simply because the adopted person wants to have control over the relationship--a control that was denied them when they were placed for adoption in this most crucial fact of their existence. Or the adoptee may feel guilty for having a relationship with the birth mother because it feels as if it diminishes the one with their adoptive parents, and they are extremely protective of them.

Over the course of my decades-long relationship with my daughter Jane, until she died in 2007, I often prized and held close the honesty I felt she brought to the table on occasion about our relationship because I felt she was telling me things that she would never share with her adoptive parents. But that also meant that I was privy to her assumption that always the adoptive family's feelings were tantamount, that it was okay to ignore my feelings in some ways because, well, because I would understand the need not to offend their feelings. In a way, it put me in the power position, the way the person who lets the other person out of an elevator first is in charge of the situation. But still. I never pointed out this disparity to Jane. I simply understood. She knew this dynamic was at work; I knew it was my job to be understanding.

Her relationship with her adoptive parents was in some ways more fragile than hers with mine. The Chinese have a belief that a thin red line connects people who are meant to be together, and though miles and circumstance may separate them, they will find each other again because they are connected by this thin red line. I'm not saying that I was a bastion of tranquility when Jane was gone, for months, for more than a year one time, not at all, but I believed that she was not gone forever. And then, out of the blue, she would call and begin the conversation as if nothing unusual had occurred, as if we had just spoken a week ago. The last time this happened was in the last year before she died. She ignored my emails, and even had her phone changed to an unlisted number. A letter was returned with the word: REFUSED stamped in red on it.

I could not help being reminded by that months earlier she had called sobbing and when I picked up the phone, she simply said: Tell me that you love me. I did. Repeatedly. Apparently her adoptive mother in the heat of an argument had told her that she did not love her.

But within days, her other mother apologized and they were back on track. That was the clearest example of how vastly different my relationship with Jane was. Jane could walk away from me at any moment, for any reason. And I'd better watch it because it could happen again. Her other mother could be forgiven; I might not be. Jane's reasoning must have gone like this: Lorraine walked away from me, she gave me up. I'll show her I can do the same.

So months again, with no contact. And then one day she called mid-morning, I answered, and we both said in tandem: How are you? And we picked up where we had been months before. I knew better than to berate her, or even ask her why. This time we seemed closer than ever, and all I said, after several normal, every-day kinds of conversations, that if she wanted me to be close and trust her, she should not ever simply walk away from me again. Right, she said, right.

So, what did I learn? That pull backs happen when you least expect it. They might even be considered the norm in a post-reunion between adoptee and first mother. That a birth/first mother's relationship with her reunited child is not ever going to be the same as the one with children who have not been relinquished. That no matter how much some of their actions hurt us, we have to be the adult, the mother, and realize that the adopted person is going through as much emotional turmoil and pain as we are, only that it is different from ours.

Some have posited that the adoptee's pain is always greater than the first mother's. I don't buy that. Because in thinking through one's relationship with one's parents, the child always has the upper hand emotionally. As much as I loved my mother, I was the one who moved away--far away--and didn't really miss not living closer. As much as I loved my mother, and we had a powerful and strong bond, I was the one who could hurt her more than she could ever have hurt me. As a male friend once said to me after he had a son: Your kids have you by the balls. Graphic, but he made the point.

From what I could discern during the Heart to Heart weekend, birth mothers who have ongoing relationships with other children were less bothered by the pullback of their only child, the relinquished child. Linda and I are in that group,and fellow blogger Jane has other daughters, and now grandchildren who live nearby and take up her time and energy. That the women who have other children are less stricken by an adoptee's rejection after reunion is simply an observation, not claiming to be scientific, but it makes sense to me.

We first mothers are called upon to be patient, and loving and understanding of the adoptee's need to control the relationship, to keep us secret and separate perhaps even from the adoptive parents' awareness. Though we have heard from many adoptees who have been rejected by the first mother, or who are too critical (see comments), I hope adoptees can find it in their hearts to understand how much power they have to hurt those of us who so desperately want a relationship when they reject us.--lorraine

38 comments :

  1. I don't think it's realistic to look for adoptees to see their power over us. Kids don't usually see these kinds of things until they become parents themselves. Plus with adoption everything gets twisted around.

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  2. Lorraine- The pullbacks for me are from my natural mother. She's really good at throwing out emotional barbs and rejecting me. Whether it's my request for family pictures or for knowing any information about my natural father, she always finds a way to respond negatively. It's all about HER feelings and frankly, that's bunk.

    Pullbacks happen from both sides.

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    1. Agreed - I moved from England to Canada to be close to her - then after 8 years she moved away to be closer to one of her sisters - she has no other children - but happily spends time with her nieces and nephews but no longer wishes to visit me or my son who now live a 4 hour drive and ferry ride away - I feel I have been rejected twice and while I understand the reasons for the first time (she was a 16 year old giving birth in 1954) - this one is so much harder to understand

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  3. I have to admit that I have pulled back, me, the mother, twice. Both times because the emotional ride was making me ill. I have health issues that make too much stress a deadly issue.

    But what I don't get is when it is her pulling back, she calls, says hi mom, and starts to talk to me about all kinds of things. Things that kind of surprise me. She talks about sex, her sex life. Her current man. Anything as long as it is not an acknowledgment of me as a person.

    Then, when I pulled back, I told her that I could not handle the all night phone calls and the crazy ups and downs.

    The second time it was her emotional instability. I was having a personal crisis and all the sudden she was feeling rejected and I was the one homeless!

    How does that work? I don't understand in one hand and in the other, I know she tests me constantly. But I never know what is going to set her off.

    I have reached the point where I don't even try. She reads my blog, daily I think. She has shut me out in every other way.

    People that know us both wonder what the issue is...I think it is because she was three and I had her for a long time. She knew it was me when I spoke to her the first time.

    Sigh...what a mess.

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  4. Lorraine, I've been navigating these waters we call reunion since 1990, shortly after my son's 18th birthday. We're coming up on 20 years -- and from time to time, he still pulls back from me. Yeah, it hurts like hell...but it is what it is. I will be punished for the decisions and actions of a 17-year-old girl from time to time until the day I die.

    I do wonder at times if it would have been easier if I had had other children. But he's my only child, and I love him beyond words....

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  5. My son pulled back three months after his a/parents died within a week of each other in 2007 after a 7 year reunion. I'm sure he was devastated from the deaths. I tried to be supportive, but I did not feel it would have been apropriate for me to attend the services although he insisted his natural father, who lives closer to him than I do, be there.
    He tried to pick fights for the 3 months before he disconnected with me, most of which I ignored, except the last one, when I told him what I really thought. That gave him his excuse to make rude, insulting and angry comments to me and end it. Strangely, though, he kept minimal contact with 2 of my 3 raised kids, his half sibs. I figure he would find out if I became sick or died while he wasn't talking to me by maintaining contact with them.
    The problem for me is I get angry being "used" like this. I welcomed him into my life and my family. He always held back. It makes me angry that I went through all the emotional turmoil of reunion to have him play these silly games. I want an honest relationship. I don't like his behavior. I want to "walk away" because I DO have a full life and a close and loving family.
    One of these days he will call and I will be gone.

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  6. I think this is a real oversimplification of the adoptee's perspective. At least that is how it looks to me.

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  7. I have often wondered if the best thing that someone could do, if they're intending to pull back, is to give a reason and a time-frame. To state up-front something like "Hi! I value our connection but need some time to myself to process everything. I've decided I need to take a few months to do this. I'll get in touch with you when I feel ready to connect again."

    Then, if need be, extend the time-frame. Even "I need a couple of years, I feel" is okay.

    Is the worst part of "limbo" not knowing when it will end?

    I know that when my son "pulled back," without warning or reason given, it was the worst time of my life. I had no idea what I had "done wrong" and he would not tell me. I finally found out that it had nothing to do with me at all, but was caused by a night of intense abuse from his adoptive parents that caused him to go into emotional shock. But the "not knowing" how long it would be (forever?) was dreadful.

    Sometimes one or both parties need time to pull back and process things. Reunion emotions can be intense. But would it be easier on the other party with some approximate time-frame given, even if this time estimate needs to be eventually changed?

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  8. Cedar, I think you've touched on something valuable. It seems to me that pull-backs happen on both sides. If only we could have the forethought to be honest and say, "I can't handle this right now, I need some time by myself to process this."

    Speaking as an adoptee whose mother has denied contact--yes, the limbo is the worst part. Not knowing if there will ever be another contact. Not knowing why she pulled back. Not knowing if it was something I did or other things in her life. If she had said to me that she needed time, I would have totally understood that.

    It seems like the people who are able to move forward in reunion are those who are able to be honest with one another and say, "This is how I feel" instead of pulling back without warning or explanation. But I'm certainly no expert on reunion. :)

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  9. Yes, Cedar, knowing a time limit and knowing why would really help a lot!

    For me it was years, 18 from first disastrous contact by me to a 16 year old who was not interested or prepared, and his first tentative reaching out to me. Having seen a few other rejections that never turned around, I was sure I was one of them. It would have helped immensely to know he might someday change his mind. It is easier to wait when you know that the waiting has an end.

    We had a several year email relationship after he sent me his wedding website, then we met for dinner at his invitation, which I thought went great but then did not hear back from him for two years again. I just kept sending emails every few months and Christmas and birthday gifts. Even in the long 18 years he did not respond, he never returned anything or asked not to send anything, so I felt ok with that. if he had asked me to stop I would have done that.

    Now, he floats in and out like the tides. Lorraine, your sea illustration is very apt:-) I emails him regularly, sometimes he answers, sometimes does not, but the big plus is that he has moved twice and changed email once and always let me know the new address.

    Like so many others when i don't hear from him for a while i start to think it is my fault, I said the wrong thing, but so far he has never said anything like that, so I am beginning to learn a lot of it is in my head, my fear and insecurity, not something he is doing to hurt me.

    I don't know if he has any clue how much he means to me, I am not one to carry on effusively about emotional stuff. Neither are any of my kids. But he does keep sending me lots and lots of pictures of the hikes he and his wife take often, beautiful nature scenes, and once in a while one of them is in the shot as well. They look great...now if only they would decide to have a beautiful baby!:-) When he writes, it is real normal everyday stuff about his job, the sports he does, mostly running and hiking, his cats, books, health stuff. Pretty much what I hear from my other kids as well.

    I don't know where the relationship will go. I hope for more, but even if that does not happen, I am very grateful for the contact I do have and the small window on his happy life.

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  10. Pull backs seem like emotional tides. Rip tides sometimes. I have felt angry, like walking away, for a day or two. But never long enough to say so. My daughter has closed me out at times. Her need for time away is her business. I am grateful to have her in my life. Time lines, weeks, months, years sound arbitrary-- setting up more artificial conditions. But whatever works, work it.

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  11. As to the question of whether it is harder for mothers who never had another child, that is so subjective I don't think there is one answer, just individual ones depending on personality and other factors. Who suffers more? How can anyone gauge that?

    If I never had another child I don't think I would be here; getting pregnant the second time saved my life or at least gave me something to live for. But each of my kids is precious, and none replaced another, ever.

    One of the sons I raised got mad and did not talk to me or his father for a year. I was devastated, and felt like I had lost two kids as my oldest was not communicating then either. Both things felt equally bad.

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  12. "Your kids have you by the balls."

    You got it.

    Sounds like it was a good gathering.

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  14. Bethgo,

    I think the discussion about time frames (at least my understanding of it) was not about situations like yours where your mother was insulting or where there are other obvious problems or bad behavior.Some mothers, and some adoptees, behave in a way that becomes impossible to deal with.

    The idea of being told "I need a few months (or more) off applied to those relationships where the adoptee or mother just cuts off the relationship with no explanation and for no apparent reason, which does happen.

    Rejections and pullbacks happen for a lot of reasons and they happen to both adoptees and mothers. There is no one reason nor one way to deal with it, and I at least would never mean anything I say about my own situation to apply to all adoptees, or all mothers. Most of us here are just talking about ourselves and our own kid and situation, not about you or other adopted persons.

    Your mother sounds insensitive and impoassible. You have every reason to pull back from her, but not for being critical of others in different circumstances.

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  15. Pullbacks occur for numerous reasons unique to each situation. I am a firstmother who initiated a pullback upon discovering that my daughter had created a blog in which I was a central character and called a “momster.’ I was portrayed as an abusive mother who treated her firstborn child in a cruel and heartless manner. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I searched for my daughter, rejoiced in finding her, and subsequently showered her with love, kindness, and compassion. Consequently, when I discovered the blog, I was shocked beyond belief. As I recovered from the initial shock, I became hurt and angry. Even though the blog event occurred just over a year ago, the content remains fresh in my memory and continues to be a barrier in the relationship I have with my daughter.

    Gail

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  16. " . . . in thinking through one's relationship with one's parents, the child always has the upper hand emotionally."
    Trying again. "Always"?
    That's a massive over-statement, and I am not sure why anyone would think that was true.

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  17. Gail:

    Your daughter's blog may have been a healthy and therapuetic way of dealing with the trauma of adoption.

    Perhaps if you found it upsetting you could have avoided it and encourage your daughter to get support for her feelings instead.

    I am sure she only meant "momster" in the nicest way, it's kinda cute dontcha think?

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  19. To my mother (Gail)-

    Someone alerted me to your comment here. I'd truly rather not respond to you in this forum, I mean we just spoke on the phone today, but people who read here, also read my former blog. I am friends with people who read here, and I will not have you insinuate that I am a liar.

    I told the truth on my blog. To the best of my memory. I concede that it is possible that you do not remember some events, but that does not mean that those events didn't happen. i.e the time you called the police on me when I was sick in bed. That happened, whether you remember it or not.

    I am not a liar. I hate liars, because I grew up in a lie with a false name and identity.

    I have apologized for calling you names. I am sorry. Name calling isn't nice, and I do love you and name calling is not a loving act.

    You expect me to get over the fact that you (and my father) abandoned me. At almost 40, I can finally say that I have come to some acceptance. And I am ready to move on.

    I expect you to get over that I wrote a blog.

    One clarification - you did not pull back when you found my blog. Our "estrangement" began in July 2006 when I foolishly wanted to talk about our long standing issues. Just one more time, I thought, maybe my mother will say something that will make it all better. Maybe my mother will make the pain go away.

    That didn't happen, and we both stopped calling each other.

    When you (and my father) found me it was a dream come true. If anyone had a second chance it was us. And we blew it.

    I was angry and confused. I wanted to know WHY??? You wanted me to be your daughter as if you had raised me. But you didn't.

    More than anything in the world I wish you had.

    I have always said that the Rockefellers could have adopted me and I would have been miserable. I was never meant to be adopted. That is why I gave it up when I was 15. Unfortunately, the scars still remain.

    I am hopeful that with joint therapy we can forge a new relationship. I want that more than anything.

    We can only do that if we both get over the wrongdoings of the past. We can only do that if we look towards the future and realize that being happy and at peace together is more rewarding than being right alone.

    xoxo

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  20. I don't think any mother would find "momster" kind of cute unless it was uttered by a toddler.

    As for Gail and Elizabeth's different perspectives of their relationship, I think readers will agree with Elizabeth that this isn't the ideal forum. Both have had their say, and we'll leave it at that. The discussion is closed to further postings on their particular relationship.

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  21. "Sorry, I can't give a timeline for how long I will be angry at my mother for telling me my children will be on drugs one day and for insulting my husband and calling him names."

    Bethgo, my suggestion of a time-line was for situations where abuse isn't the primary issue. What you describe is abuse, and wherever there is abuse, the pullback or cut-off should be for as long as it needs to be, e.g. until the abuse stops and the person changes their ways and apologizes. Sometimes one can say "I am not going to see you or talk to you until you stop the abuse and treat me with respect" but I know from experience that sometimes it's hard to say those words and you know they'll just deny it anyway.

    This is a good checklist for verbal abuse - just substitute "parent" for "partner." http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/famlf2/gt346d.pdf

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  22. One more thing and it isn't about Gail and Elizabeth specifically, just something Elizabeth commented:

    "Maybe my mother will say something that will make it all better. Maybe my mother will make the pain go away."

    That's an unrealistic expectation, even if your mother were super woman or super shrink or whatever. We are not miracle workers. We can't undo what's been done, whether the choice to surrender was truly ours or not.

    It is what it is and always will be. Thank you so much, adoption!

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  23. Agreeing with Denise that this is an impossible request. My son very early on wrote something to me about not being able to be my "salvation"; that I had to forgive myself for whatever I felt I had done wrong, not depend on him for it. I wish I could find the exact quote, he said it much more eloquently, and he was right.

    In a general way the mother/daughter exchange here shows the dangers of putting too much out on the internet that you might not want the other party to read. Public fights are not a good thing for relationships of any kind, and post reunion relationships are so difficult no matter what.

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  24. Denise and Maryanne - I agree that is not realistic, and impossible. I had that thought in 2006. At the time, that was my "inner child" speaking. Laugh if you want, I don't care.

    Since then, I have told my mother that I finally realized she can't fix me. (Not that I am a mess, I am actually very successful outside of adoption shit).

    I'm sure everyone here has either read about or experienced the "regression" that happens in reunion. That happened to me. In spades.

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  25. Just want to add that I am amazed at what does go up on the Net. Much of it is probably done with good intentions for educational value or to help people understand the emotions involved. Yet so often these are not the results.

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  26. I don't really believe in the "inner child" school of psychology, which seems to provide more excuses than insights, nor that regression is a part of all reunions, although it is a factor for some.

    For those for whom it is, it seems better to deal with it as the adult you are today than to try to go back to a stage in life that cannot be retrieved or repeated, or to indulge or condone immature behavior.

    What one feels is one thing, but it need not lead to actions or words that may be inappropriate or
    hurtful to others.

    The "inner child" concept is controversial and not accepted by all mental health professionals or psychologists, although some have made a nice living from it in the pop psych arena.

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  27. People pull back from all different kinds of relationships. I know it's difficult, and really an adoptee (which is what I am) should bring the same standards of consideration to the reunited relationship as to any other. But that is easier said than done. Feelings can be overwhelming, and if someone has built a life without you, integrating you into that life may not be an obvious path. Not making excuses for anyone or anything, I'm just saying that many relationships have stronger feelings on one side than on the other, and close relationships are never easy.

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  28. I think the fact that Elizabeth used quotation marks suggests that she is consciously using "inner child" as a metaphor, not to describe the reality of the experience itself.
    When people are distressed and overwhelmed they often behave in ways that they wouldn't normally.

    Of course I don't know what actually transpired between E and G, but even though I am wary of metaphors (Ye "Primal Wound" being another such) because they can too easily be misunderstood and taken literally, I agree with Nancy Verrier that a reunited mother really can help assuage an adopted person's pain by expressing her sincere regret that she wasn't there for her child when she was most needed.
    By way of clarification, that means saying sorry out of feelings of empathy, not as in abject apology - though that too may be in order under some circumstances.

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  29. Maryanne,

    I think you missed the point of what "regression" is in adoption. For a lot of us, the bond that was broken left us in "limbo" or like for me, stuck in time at a specific maturity level for some things.

    It is not an excuse it is a fact. Many mothers who have extremely traumatic relinquishments there is the possibility that the, what you call regression is that they simply get stuck in age/time.

    I noted that my friends that raised their childen have a different maturity level than I. And this was long prior to any thought of reunion. I had no idea why I did not get it. Over time, and with a lot of work on my part, my maturity level rose. After reunion, it grew to the point that is age appropriate.

    It is not about an excuse, but a fact of psychology. Psychologists have long said that part of the abandonment issues, relationship issues and other issues such as RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) in adoptees is part of the trauma of adoption for them.

    So, a blanket statement really does not fit the subject.

    Just my thoughts.

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  30. Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I think Momster is adorable, just like franken-father, or Count Chocula.

    Not everyone is so sensitive.

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  31. Kippa,

    I agree that saying you are sorry once with no "big buts" as qualifiers to your surrendered child is a good idea and can't hurt, might help. I think it did help some for me. Nancy Verrier has some good insights, whether one believes in primal wound or not.

    Also, yes, I should have given more weight to the quotes on Elizabeth's "inner child" and not gone off about the theory. Once again I may have been too quick to assume:-)

    Lori,
    You make some good points, but I would not call what you are describing as regression, which implies going backward to an earlier state, but just being stuck at the age of surrender in some ways. I think I was stuck back there for a lot of years myself which did not make me the best wife or mother. But for me, reunion helped me to finally move forward, not back.

    What I thought Elizabeth meant, and I may well be wrong, was the adoptee and mother going back, or trying to go back, to the time and emotional state of young mother and infant. I have heard some people describe reunion like that. I think it is one of the things that makes for problems in some reunions, especially where one party wants some impossible regression and the other does not or cannot play along.

    I also think a few people use "being regressed" as an excuse for being rude or insensitive to the other party.

    One of the most difficult things about reunion is so seldom are both parties in sync about what they want, expect, need or are willing to give or forgive. It is so easy to assume, misunderstand, and be hurt, and so hard and scary to try to risk and trust and empathize.

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  32. Just to say I liked Celera's comment :- )

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  33. I haven't experienced a real "pull back" and have been in reunion for six or so years.
    I've wanted to withdraw several times and run away. There have been many times when i felt overwhelmed and wondered if I had the strength to stay in this situation called reunion.

    I feel the small pull backs when they happen and allow her to take the space she needs.
    I've been lucky in that she hasn't attacked me or abused me or simplified the relinquishment. My daughter has a lot of empathy and understands the complexities. It's not black and white.
    I have also expressed sorrow that what I did must have hurt her and seemed like the only way for her to have a good chance in life.

    I hate being in reunion I hate it that she was relinquished. I can't change it so try to make the best of things.

    If and when she pulls back and I always think it could happen I will find ways to deal with that. Until that time comes or doesn't come I make sure to never take her for granted and to be ever so glad to have her back in my life.

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  34. I want to clarify that I hate being in reunion instead of her being all mine. I hate her being adopted. I don't hate having her back in my life.

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  35. Kim I liked your comment, and I knew exactly what you meant the first time. I've said that I hate the term "reunion", there shouldn't have to be one.

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  36. My birth Mom found me 3 years ago. I was thrilled. It was the realization of a lifetime dream. We look like twins on a timeline. She was funny, smart, nurturing - I went in with open arms - ready to be a daughter and become a real part of my ' family '. My first trip back home, my last day there - she verbally attacked me. I was stunned. I never saw it coming. I later learned from another relative that my wonderful Mom has a long history of unexpectadly lashing out. I tried for over a year to work it out and resolve the problem ( there were several more lashing sessions after the first ) Finally I set a limit - I told her we could use a therapist as a mediator or our relationship had gone as far as it could - I was not a punching bag. I havent heard from her since. I am grateful to see where I have come from, and thou I love them - I am more than my heritage now, even thou so many traits come thru - I am my life's experience and my family has been made thruout my life.

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  37. p.s. the regression mentioned here ? I didnt realize it in the beginning of our reunion, but I had expectaions, and life long dreams of being understood by my amazing birth Mom, being protected, and loved in a way that was not possible for my adopted family. That perception made the attack a stunning blow. I left no room in my reality for that possibility. Reality did catch up, and I reframed my expecations, I didnt expect everyone to embrace ' the long lost daughter '. I think we have long standing fantasys that occupy our dreams of these important missing people in our lives. As for my Mom, I know something was playing in - guilt had to be a large part of it, but like I was saying, she is not able to confront what is happening with her.

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