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Dimples & Adoption
Dimples & Adoption

Episode 18 · 2 years ago

Ep 18: Reality vs Expectations

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Welcome to dimples and adoption. It is not every day you get to hear an open adoption story from the perspective of a birth mother and your biological daughter. Dimples and adoption tells a unique story through the eyes of two strong women who were determined to be in each other's lives. Not only will they uncover their emotional stories or create a platform to share a variety of adoption stories from guest speakers. Hey, guys, welcome to episode eighteen. WHOO WHOO, very exciting. I can't wait till I can say episode five, hundred and forty six. Oh my goodness, like I quit. You know your say a hundred. No, we're shooting for the stars. Okay, so in this episode I'm like in my jacket still. In this episode we're going to talk about reality versus expectations when meeting your biological family, and so this doesn't have to be just related to adoption, because there's a lot of people that don't meet their biological family till their adult or later in life, and so I think a lot of people can relate to this. But the reason we want to talk about it is because I had a huge realization with therapy I love therapy so much, can I just be a spokesperson for therapy and kind of understanding that I had expectations put in place that I didn't even realize when it came to my biological family and once we reunited, and obviously, like I'll explain my expectations, but they were essentially, I guess, high, I don't know, but and then if someone doesn't meet those expectations, obviously things are going to start to crumble or you need to figure out how to communicate through that. So one thing I realized is growing up, I had so much information about Rachel and about the adoption process and my parents would talk to me about it a lot and they were very into using the right terminology, giving respect to Rachel, giving respect to themselves as my parents. So I grew up like that, like at it was always a conversation. We are always going to grow and learn more about it. We're going to be appropriate and not everyone live that way. So like Rachel did, because we...

...were both in each other's lives and because of your profession that you spent a lot of time carrying about boundaries and just you were living the life of a birth mother, and so once I started meeting biological families, I assumed that since they lived the life of adoption, that they would understand and know what was appropriate and what is not appropriate or have some level of education around it, and that wasn't the case. And so I realized really quickly that that wasn't the case. But I definitely didn't go about it in the right way because it was all so new and I feel, like a lot of people talk about, like there's a lot like a kit, a lot of bumps, you know, a lot of bruises, and instead of taking the role of like, okay, I should be like an educator, but I also didn't really know that I could even fulfill that role, you know what I mean? I didn't think like, Oh, I could be an educator for my biological family and help them along this way, because I was just so excited to meet my family. So yeah, there's definitely a lot of times that were uncomfortable and I know not everyone wants to hear that, but it is uncomfortable when you only know your family as your adoptive family and your cousins and your aunt's and your uncle's and your grandparents, like that's your family and then people start coming into your life, you know, twenty years later, and want to claim you as like I'm your aunt, I'm you, your grandma, I'm here the end. It's like what? So I'm going to interject. And when you say educated, I don't think people think of that like the people don't think I'm going to go read books and stuff about adoption. I think it has more to do with familiarizing yourself with it and having open communication. So I did, like with my family and being a birth from with my immediate family, they were always involved with open communication about you. So they always saw the pictures and the letters and they were familiar with your upbringing, and so you with your parents. Did I do an exceptional job of educating them? No, because I was, you know, I guess, in denial for majority of my life being a birth mom, and now being in the community, I'm like, holy cold, there's like a...

...whole different world out there of terms in how to navigate adoption that I did was not aware of, and neither was my family. But because I was always open with them and they were on the journey with me. They are not. I can come to them now and say hey, listen to those information I'm learning about adoption and they embrace it and they want to learn with me. So I think it just has to do with being open to be communicating with your family about adoption. Yeah, and one thing that you did really well, Rachel, is you put a time. We were just talking about this, but you put a ton of boundaries up in place for me, and so I did not really reunite with a lot of your family for a long time, until we were well established, and I remember you being kind of worried about that. I was like, what your I didn't know you're worried about that, like, let's meet them. I didn't want to. Let Yeah, I didn't want to overwhelm you. I didn't want to. Everybody has their own place of how comfortable. You know it's. It's not a comfortable situation when you first view at night, and that was something for you and I to do first and to discover it and analyze it and figure out where we're going to go with it before I was going to throw you into a pack of wolves. That's funny, because you're a wolf and our children's book or writing and I wanted to, which is funny because I didn't end up doing it, but I wanted to kind of touch base with everyone to see where they were with meeting you. Also, I do remember getting to a point where, because I got to know you so well and I knew your personality, I knew how open you were and you were so much like me in that aspect, I finally just said forget it. And there was a time that I just had to come over and meet my my dad and my brother and I didn't tell them and I'm like, I'm sorry, I'm just throwing this on you, guys, because I didn't want you to overanalyze it, but I've got Hannah coming over and and I just said, she's super open, she's just like me, so just relax and just be your normal self with her. And it worked out. What time was that? If I don't know if it was, it must have been a holiday. WAS IT Easter? It must have been. Yeah, I think so, and you're like, whoa. Okay, Rachel. So there's like a weird balance for me. Of I want them to accept me into the family, like, because who doesn't want to be wanted, you know? So it's like I love when people the biological family of meant I love,...

...when they were all like welcoming and come in and you're part of us. I think where it gets really gray is when they don't understand that they're not the role that they would traditionally be in if they didn't get or place for adoption. That makes sense. So that I just don't I don't think people want to actually think about that. Where in the situation like, okay, maybe you're the grandmother and your kid had a child place for adoption and now you're you're a grandmother, they're an adult and then you bring in this like twenty year old into your life. It's so exciting and you want to embrace them and be a grandmother figure or grandfather figure in their life, but the reality is that they didn't know anything about you for twenty years. MMM. And there's also expectations in the role of being a grandmother, grandfather, cousin, aunt whatever, that when you're an older family member, you tend to take care of people. You tend to a lot of people are like they listen to the like, to their elders, you know, because they older, and that's what you do. You listen to your grandparents, things like that. So it's just like navigation of like I want you to welcome me into your life. I want to have this but you're not that role. You're not that role in my life. I just want it to be like fun and open minded, well and respectful. It comes down to expectation versus reality. The expectation that people tend to have is I have the label of grandmother or I have the label of father, mom and and this biological relationship. Reality is it takes the relationship to earn the label. You can't just say I'm your mom. We just had this conversation, Hannah, and I said to you I will never, ever, ever, have the same relationship that I have with you that I have with my other children, and I'm so glad that we have this relationship. I can say that to you you're not devastated and hurt by it and you actually understand it. It's impossible. It's impossible because I didn't raise you. So if I was going to try to force you and force that relationship that I hit with my other kids, it would probably push you away, yes, and it would push me away. And this is where some people it might be different because maybe they didn't...

...have a stable and healthy adoptive parents, but I did so in my reality is that this second I feel like someone is trying to label themselves in my life before I've labeled them or given or we even talked about it. It hurts me because I feel protective over my parents and it's interesting because it's like I'm not trying. I read something like when did you realize your adoptive parents were fragile? And that's one thing. My parents have definitely had their fair share of being fragile, but also they raised me. Who is going to talk about the fragile things? And so they're going to deal with it if they like it or not. So we've gone through a lot of that. But I've never, ever, not been honest with them, even if it sucks and it hurts, I'm going to be honest with them, and so the relationship we have now is so amazing and I have so much respect and love for them because of them putting in the hard work that all their adoptive parents are doing. That it yeah, if you start trying to step into that role of what my parents have done such a phenomenal job at. Yeah, I'm going to be pissed. I'm going to fee uncomfortable and I'm going to want to push that away because that's not who you are in my life and that also sounds kind of cold. But what I do have like with you is incredible and is there so motherly aspect to it? Absolutely. You give birth to me and I tell you happy mother's Day and we have a bond that is unbreakable. But you're not my mother in the sense that my mother's my mother, right. Yeah, so it's I think it's very healthy for us to have. It is like you, you know, when you come to me for advice or you're talking to me about stuff, I don't approach it. There are times where I'll say like okay, is gonna be my motherly response and being protective in a general statement, but you know, I'm always it's in the back of my head. I'm like, okay, you're not her mom, so you gotta approach us in a certain way. And then when you say, Oh, yeah, my mom said that, or I just got a from with my dad or my mom, I'm like, yeah, that makes me at peace because I know you have that and I know they're giving you the advice that you're looking for. You need and in the providing it and so than it brings me comfort knowing that I love it and what? And now you got like so many different perspectives. You've got your mom and has perspective and then you got this weird friendship, whatever mine is, persponsive this. Yeah, it's it's interesting because obviously we watch and he listened to a lot of birth MOMS and a lot of adoptees,...

...and I think there is a lot of people who vice versa. I like a lot of birth MOMS that want to be a mother figure, a lot of adoptees who want their birth MOMS to be a mother figure. I guess I just can't speak to that because that's not my reality and obviously it's that's not shocking, you know, like to hear that. I it just sucks cuz there's no you don't really know, because there's so many points in the adoption process that matter and shape who you are and how your relationship with your biological family is going to go. Like it's it's such a balance between everyone in like my sister, who has such a different personality than I have, just has no interest, straight up has no interest. Oh, we need to break just a minute. Okay, what back more time about? Oh, the expectation of the birth mom, the birth parents feeling the role of a parent and vice versa, the adoptee feeling the role as a child. I have something to say to that. And I just feel as a birth mother, well, two things here, I guess. For me, I my expectations. I feel like this is going to sound heartless, but we're low, I would have to say, and this is why, when I was in court and I terminated, I guess I knew what I was doing the whole time, like this is what I my plan was and I knew what I was doing. Nobody talked me into it, and then when they said, you know, your rights are terminated, which I didn't know they were going to say, but I you know, that was reality, I'm like okay, like I just terminated my rights as a parent, and to me it made sense in my head. I know people struggle with that and I can see why, because it's permanent, but it made sense like for for the way I told it in my head was okay, yeah, that makes helps her move on to live a life with parents, because that was the choice I'd made. So I guess for me my expectations were because it they would told me it was open. I did want some form of open communication. If I went that expectation was my highest expectation. I needed to know that you were okay and that was what we had decided on. So I always wanted to know that there was some form of open communication. Then I had the expectation that I always thought it at eighteen. I thought it eighteen, but then in my head for some reason I had it at twenty one. You were legally able to get my records. So for some reason...

...round eighteen to twenty one. But in the adult age that's when I had an expectation of, hopefully, you and I connecting and talking and getting to know each other. I didn't I always said, like when I would do the blow at the candles, I wish that Hannah will be in my life some day. I don't know. I'm trying to think if to have this extravagant expectation that it would be like this. I don't think I did. Wanted I did like doing a podcast. Yeah, I guess always wanted to know you were okay. You were all taking care of you were you know, had the life that I wanted you to have and and then that we would kind of know each other. So that leads into what I was going to say. Is if you would have came to me heartbroken and having a hard time with this. You weren't given the opportunity to explore your biological family. It was all unknown to you, that was kept from you, or there's a lot of guilt involved in it, and you came to me with this heavy load of you needed healing from me. That, I think, would have been difficult for me, and this is why my experience as a birth mother was extremely traumatic. All birth mothers go through this trauma that's lifelong. I unfortunately didn't even realize it till I was an adult and I didn't have the support, I didn't have the therapy. So I was ongoing going through this trauma and not even realizing it. But it's my own identity and it's my own lifelong struggle. So to bring in what adoptees have also very traumatic, to then bring that into my already traumatic feelings, I wouldn't that would have been overload for me and I didn't have the skills. So when you're at a level of what it feels like to have this loss as a birth mom, you really need professional navigation in it because we don't have the skills to deal with it, the proper skills, and so I think that would have maybe pushed for me. If you would have came to me with all of that, I don't know how well I would have accepted that and if you definitely would have came into my life earlier when I was not dealing with my trauma, I feel like I would have pushed you away and, being completely honest, because I wasn't in it at a healthy place in my life. So my advice out there to adoptees, you know, trying to find their birth parents, and birth parents trying to find their birth child. You. It's a huge thing to say, but you really need to have your own healing accomplished or your you, you're in the process of it, you have the skills, you have some coping skills, something, because if you're going to that person for your healing, it's not that is an expectation...

I don't know if can be met and I don't know if it's a health such good. That's so good, because that happens a lot of going to each other thinking that like the act of reuniting might heal you, but it it may help on the journey of closure or whatever you're searching but yeah, like meeting that person in your life, like they cannot heal you. You do need professional guidance to help with that and also, like it's in you have it within yourself, so you have the ability to heal. Doesn't mean it's going to be easy, doesn't mean it's going to take a lot of work, you know, but you have that in yourself and you can't seek out someone who has no and you don't even know where they are in, at their life. To meet that at that is a bad it's not bad expectation, but it's an expectation that you might leave feeling really hurt. Yeah, like a kit covered it in our last episode where she she had her dialog written out, like she had prepped herself on written documentation what she was going to say if her birth I'm answered the phone in her first thing was, I'm not mad at you, I don't you know. I know you have your you already have an established life and not asking. She had such her expectation was just to have communication. It wasn't I need to hear you, need to help you me. It wasn't that at all. It was I'm here, I found you, you exist. That's all I need at this point and I'm hoping you exact except me. If not, I'm going to move forward because I'm excited. I found you. Hm, that was powerful. Yeah, I agree on the I was wanting itself, because I wrote down because I kept forgetting it. But I talked about, and I've talked about this in the past, of the idea of my parents claiming me, and I feel like this is a very touchy subject because there's a side where a parent can claim you and then not acknowledge the fact that you came from someone else. Oh Yep. And so it's interesting because for me, I think my parents did this very well, as they meet all the flip in time that like you are our child and it and they never ever try to act like it wasn't because of you, Rachel. So it's always like, yes, you have a birth mother out there, you know that, we are in a relationship with her, but we are your parents and it was never we were meant to be your parents. You know, wasn't any spiritual reasoning. It was just straight up like, Hannah, we're your parents and we love you and we're going to always be your parents. We're not...

...going to be your friend. Blah, blah, blah, Blah Blab. And the reason I think this is so important is because there isn't insecurity, that fragileness of the adopted parents that if they feel for one second that they're not their rightful parent, that's going to show. And a kid wants confident parents, you know, because if I felt like they were doubting their relationship with me, I think I did well. Am I not meant to be with you guys? You know, Blubba, blah, Blah Blah. And so it's this balance of claiming them, being confident in that relationship but not removing the birth mom, like the birth mom is still everything in a story. Do you know? All Right, I'm back, Um, so off of what you were saying. I might have already covered this in EPO on the previous episode, but it reminds me of when those times that we talked on the panel with other hoping to adopt parents and frank would talk about owning and claiming you and I would say on the flip side. That's super reassuring for birth parents also, because that was the whole reason that we made this choice and we're hoping that you were going to get claimed and loved. And so if I was in the room with your parents and I saw fear, insecurity, not wanting me there, if I sense that there was a wall put between us, if I would have felt any of that, that would have made me second guess my decision. So the advice that I would give to hoping to adopt parents was you have to show that confidence, because even if it's even if you are feeling insecure, then you need to talk to your spouse about it, your friend about it, a therapist about it, but not your child, and don't show it in front of the birth parents because it's not a comfortable feeling. HMM. And this is where it goes to the idea of like this co parenting, and I almost feel like it's so touchy. But here with this isn't co parenting. Adoption is not co parenting. You are giving up your parental rights and you are trusting in two individuals to raise your baby and to beat their parents and to be a guide to them, and it doesn't mean you don't love them, that doesn't mean you don't want them, not in your life because, like I've heard from so many birth mothers, in love that they have for their children, but you're also choosing to not parent them and so you can't try to step into...

...their life and be a parent to them. You made that choice and it may that I don't know. I don't want to sound insensitive, but that's confusing for adoptees. I'm just going to say that. Well, so I was thinking about this. When you when we always say it goes beyond adoption. It's so this is a very strong topic in divorce. I know I always go back to divorce, but for my son I have had these conversations with him because we have to share visits and there are times that I sense that he is feeling like he's going to hurt my feelings or hurt his dad's feelings, and so, as the adult figure in the relationship, it's my responsibility to step up as the adult, and so I have told him numerous times it's not he doesn't need to worry about my feelings because I'm going to grow an adult and I will worry about my own feelings and deal with them. If you want to stay longer at your father's because you're having a good time or you have something planned or you want to see friends, you need to do that and it makes me happy as a parent knowing you're enjoying your time there. I'm not going to sit here and be sad and feel bad that you are having a good time. Will I miss you, absolutely, but I want you to enjoy your life and have a good time. So I tell him that often because I don't want him to feel that pressure and guild and they know he does. So I have to remind them of it often and that's the role I wish. Adoptive parents when a lot do, but to actually say the words. You will not hurt my feelings. If you want to discover your biological family or find them or learn about them, you will not hurt my feelings. I think that's a powerful statement to be said. Absolutely I mean keep the children. Don't choose this life. I have said that to my son too. I'm like, you didn't choose the Moors, you didn't choose the people that I married in your father married. You didn't get to go out and select your stepmom and Stepdad, we just said here, they are learn to like them. Yeah, yeah, and it's even this is interesting. You made me think of you know, my parents are divorced and they're, you know, dabbling and relationships, and so I'm twenty four years old and my parents are seeing other people for the first time in my existence, and you bet your but that I'm not looking at them as a step parent because, guess what, like they're not, because I'm already an adult, I've been raised and so and thankfully, so far I've had really positive experiences and it's more of an adult relationship. If they bring someone into their life and like that's going back to what it was like,...

...you know, meeting biological family. It's just you have to understand, I feel like you're a biological family member right now, that you can't fill the traditional role that you would have if they weren't adopted. HMM, and that doesn't mean you can't have the same amount of love and the same amount of like seeing each other and communicating. That can still be there. You can still maybe see him on holidays, you know, like I split out my holidays now with you too, and that's my choice. It's not and I just and yeah, you get last pick. Sorry, but that's just because I have tradition set up of, you know, with my mom and dad and now their divorce, and then I want to see you in the kids and celebrate with you. So, yeah, it's for us. I feel like because of our openness, because of our communication and honoring our feelings and our space, we're doing an exceptional job. I'd like to give myself some credit for that and you. Yeah, we are my parents, but we definitely had, you know, errors on an areas and it's definitely really hard when my parents were getting divorce. We've talked about that. Well, even when you and I were starting to have a relationship, it wasn't smooth sailing. I didn't know what my role was and I would second guess stuff. I remember right in the beginning you'd be at my house and then you would get a call from one of your parents and they would be this like Oh gosh, you know, is you going to say that she's here? is she worried she's going to hurt their feelings that she's here, and should I even see anything? You know, like so I'm so glad we're beyond that now. But you are going to have to learn through this together and talk about it, because you will have those in secure feelings of not knowing how to dvigate the relationship. Don't let that stop you, don't let it scare you. You got to talk about it and I do think that it's really important, when you are going to reunite, to have the so the birth parents have the conversation with their extended family, of saying hold on honey, of educating your I don't like that we're educating, communicating with them that it is not the traditional role. So, Hey, you're going to meet, you know, my birth child. Remember, this is not your niece or nephew, like, let's go through this. She already has her family. This is the language we use and talking through it. Ask them what they have. Any questions? Yeah, daughters jumping on the bed behind me. Surs. Oh, I had a comment on forgetting it. Sorry, are you just trying to the three? I got distracted by the little trial jumping on your bed. All right. Well, okay, I have one...

...more main point and then we can wrap up. I have this thing I wanted. I want to go over one more thing too. Okay, cool. So my thing is do not make rash decisions. What do you mean, Hannah? So this is extremely emotional, especially these open conversations. You're vulnerable. You go all of you have gone through trauma and things can get intense, things can get miscommunicated, there can be other influences in all of your lives that that aren't positive. Okay, so if I can give any recommendation, it's just in moments where you feel so intensely, take a step back and just be honest and open and say, Hey, I need to take a step back right now. I have I not sure what I'm feeling and I need to figure it out. So let's either like put a pause on this or let's check back in in a couple months. I just need to do some some work with myself right now, or I know I can't be the person you need right now and maybe I never can be that person or whatever. Just I feel like I've experiences, but I'm sure a lot of people in the try head, if it, has experiences, even with maybe adopted parents too, where it's just like rash, it's like, Nope, if you talk to your bio family, means you don't love me. That's ridiculous, so help. That's not happening. Ever, I know what has happened before, but that's what this comes down to. Is like a lot of these. Everyone's kind of confused and it's all about like you all love each other, obviously, so then it's navigating that. So, if anything, I just don't ever make a rash decision in the within the triad. Try to give yourself some space before you do something like that. Okay, Shure, wrap up. Thanks. Oh God. Thank you, guys for listening. As always, you can find us everywhere. We're everywhere, but for real, I'm remember about I'm revamping our website, so it's kind of under construction right now, but that'll be up soon and we are recording more. YEA, and yeah, follow US instagram. Check US out on facebook. We have a private group, all those school things. Subscribe to...

...a newsletter, Yada, Yada, Yadi. Love you guys. Peace and blessing. Do you have anything to say? You think goodbye, but I was just like you. Good, okay, bye, I don't. Thank you for listening to our podcast. Please reach out to us at dimples and adoption at ginacom.

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