In honor of…recognition of…response to, National Adoption month, November, the month I was born and relinquished in, I’ve been dipping my toes into a section of social media and the internet I have trained myself to avoid; adoption related articles, blog posts and stories. It can be a dangerous, emotional bog. As it always done, it has my emotions kicked into high gear and the words spinning in my head, wanting to get out and be written and subsequently read.
One of my favorite quotes is, “When the past calls, do not answer. It has nothing new to say.” (I’m sorry I can’t credit the author of this profound statement as I do not know who said/wrote it.) I have spent much of my life attempting to give the past much more attention than it deserves. I’ve relived heartache over and over and over. Playing back episodes where I was the victim. Initially, the innocent victim of a young mother who could not keep me. That situation left me with the Primal Wound that those who came in my life were left to try to pick up the pieces of a tiny, shattered soul who had lost everything in the only mother they had known. Think about it for awhile and see that you don’t pick up a Kleenex. I thought for a long time that somehow looking back on that time would explain my misuse of food, insecurities, self loathing and hatred. In the older styles of therapy, figuring out what happened in the past was a key to wellness. I know believe that is bullshit, at least for my own needs. I am better served by the live as I go, manage external stressors with distress tolerance skills and most recently, Heart Math tools, way of processing my life.
I am turning 36 this coming Friday. I am enjoying my 30’s. I’m further away from, not untouched mind you, but further away from being that little child, than I have ever been before. Yes, that means more healed and experiencing a hope and wellness I’ve not lived before. I’ve had 15 + years of parenting under my belt and 11 years of marriage. Our family is blended one. My husband is our older son’s biological father yet he is his dad all the same. So we have a stepdad who is also just dad, a mom, half-brothers, sons and a stepson within the four of us. We don’t pay heed to titles and are Dad, Mom and brothers. Quite simply, we are the four of us, a family. Bonded NOT by blood, but by love. I don’t know that I have taught my husband many useful things since we’ve met but the one I know of, can move mountains. The concept that family is not just who you are blood related to. Family are the people that take you in when you are lost, scared, broken, longing, and. They can choose you, and you can choose them. One example, my adoptive parents who claimed me, a strangers baby and never tried to give me back. Two amazing people who have made me their own even when that caused heartbreak and pain. They didn’t run when I ran away or caused havoc and drama and sent our family’s life into epic chaos. They hung on. The weathered every storm. My mom and dad were there with me when as a young, single mom, I fought like hell to bring my beautiful son into this world. My mom offered hours of fervent prayer. They held him and welcomed him and claimed him as their grandson. They taught me my entire life that family is about who you love and make your family. Family can be about blood. Many genetic families are amazing, with loving relationships and incredible commitments to each other. Some are not. I’ve watched a mother, a grandmother forsake a family bond and move cross country without saying “Goodbye” to her only son. Unfortunately, the answers I have given to her grandson as he’s grown up to ask them, have been hollow and offer no reasonable explanation for her choices.
This evening, I took both boys to see Big Hero 6. I don’t want to spoil it for you but the main character Hiro, suffers the loss of precious family members. By the end of the movie, he has grown closer to his remaining blood relative and has grown his chosen family by four others. I know it was a movie and there were writers that chose that outcome but, I was proud of the people that reached out to him and even prouder still that he let himself be loved and came to love them back. It was a hard movie for my younger son to watch at times and came away from it saying, “It’s another sad movie, Mom”. As Disney and Pixar introduce more obvious deaths and loss into their story lines, there is opportunity for more discussion and teachable moments.
I’ve always been annoyed by the phrase “blood is thicker than water.” The better thing to remember is this line, “Love is thicker than blood.” from Thicker Than Blood, a song by Garth Brooks.
If this concept is new to you, see how you can embrace it and change your own life. Is there someone you go to church with who is alone or doesn’t have any local family? Can you do chores at their home or run errands? What if it were your parent or family member alone in a city? Wouldn’t you want someone to reach out to them? How about a single parent that is on 24/7? Can you offer to watch their child and be a surrogate parent to them or a grandparent to their child? None of these offers are meant to replace blood family, only to enhance someone’s love family. Sometimes these relationships bring the greatest joy because the recipient knows you chose them.
Just something to think about. Love, Rebecca