Necessary Medicine

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Someone sent me this bit of advice. I don’t know what to make of it or why the universe brought it to my door. I’m conflicted, but I understand the wisdom of the “necessary medicine”  of which Chernoff speaks. These words sit with me and I cannot shake them off like I have so many other things in my life. What would “necessary medicine” look like in my life, anyway? Is this the hemlock I wrote of recently – is this the medicine adoption requires of me?

Sometimes you have to walk away from people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.  When someone hurts you time and time again, accept the fact that they don’t care about you.  It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s necessary medicine.  Do NOT strive to impress them any further.  Waste not another second of your time trying to prove something to them.  Nothing needs to be proven. ~ Angel Chernoff, “10 Little Habits that Steal Your Happiness.”

Stealing happiness. That is what adoption does to so many.  I don’t know if it stole happiness from you, only you can answer that question, but as for me and my house, that is what adoption has done.  It stole the happiness we could have had together. It steals happiness from Poppy. From Matthew. Luke. My sisters. My sisters-in-law. My mother.  From Jeff. From me. Twenty years on, I would have thought the thievery would have lessened, that its effects would have been ameliorated by time and distance. However, this adoption-initiated theft has only increased, compounded, magnified with each missed memory and shared history we all could have had…no, should have had, together.

My introspection leads me to thoughts of your perspective: If I, as I have awakened from the adoption anesthesia, have come to see the act of adoption as one of theft of an identity –  yours as an individual, mine as a mother – and my family’s sense of wholeness, what does it look like from your perspective as an adoptee? And what effect does my public acknowledgement of the stolen happiness have on you, if any?  Is it fair of me to write of such things? Or should they always remain hidden, unseen, and therefore unacknowledged by any other living soul, a symbolic annihilation of my experience?

One granite-slabbed question presses most heavy: If I had stumbled on a blog like this one 21 years ago, would I have still made the same choices? Would these words have been enough to wake me from the culturally-induced coma I was in at the tender age of twenty years? Or would I still have measured myself against the patriarchy’s yardstick, found myself lacking, and lost you to the gaping maw of the adoption industry anyway?

I have no answers, only ever increasing questions that marinate in the quiet corners of my heart, steeped in mother-love and a heavy dose of curiosity gifted me by nature.

Much love,


9 thoughts on “Necessary Medicine

  1. I hate reading inspirational medicine like that…”no regrets!”, “move on,” “life gives you exactly what you can take.” Obviously nothing bad has ever happened to you, then, is what I think when I read such trite cliched advice.

    Also when i was planning to relinquish I did look online briefly and I mostly saw happy beemom blogs. I was in too much denial to pay attention to anything else, and i think if i had looked before i was in a crisis, i would’ve seen the unhappy ones and learned from them. Either way, I have zero respect for women who say how great relinquishing is and walk around promoting it.

    • “I was too much in denial to pay attention to anything else…”

      This. And between the powerful dark effects of oxytocin heightening our fears and a culture that grooms us from the tenderest of ages that *there is no other way,* it is a wonder ANY woman and her child is able to escape.

      I used to have only contempt for women who act as adoption agency shills, but over the last four or five years, it has been transmuted into something more akin to sympathy, compassion, even sorrow. One day they will turn around and have to face what happened to them AND what they convinced other women to be a part of. For all my mistakes in life, I have a clean conscience in that regards. I have NEVER actively worked to encourage or support the separation of mothers and their infants.

  2. And what effect does my public acknowledgement of the stolen happiness have on you if any? Is it fair of me to write of such things? Or should they always remain hidden, unseen, and therefore unacknowledged by any other living soul, a symbolic annihilation of my experience, as it were?

    Forever a question. I dont know. I have had my fears, anxieties, up and downs with this but in the end had to go with what I wanted to do and live with the consequences. My life goes on. If some day she chooses to be in it, I will stand by my words. I have tried to respect her desire not to be in my life and her request to never been known by anyone (although I failed in that regard with some).

    • Sue – I’ve watched your story unfold over the past years and my heart hurts for both you and your relinquished daughter. I wish there were some manual to help us through all of this…stuff. There isn’t, so all we can do is do our best with what we have. Sending love your way – M.

  3. “I was too much in denial to pay attention to anything else…” I saw a blog tagged birth mothers on wordpress yesterday by a woman essentially giving birth any day, planning to relinquish, and it seemed so odd to see all the descriptions I’ve read about adoption kool aid spelled out word for word but in the present tense. It creeped me out. It made me wonder if people are sending her unwanted opinions and advice, or what her purpose is in blogging this– does she want support? Does she want someone to contradict her? Neither, just to express herself? There were no comments on any of her entries. Is she moderating them out? Is she even reading the birth mothers’ blogs? I almost wrote her but it seemed very clear that she’s going to pay attention to what she wants to believe right now and nothing else.

    • Sometimes when I read birth mother blogs like the one you describe, I wonder if it isn’t actually adoption agency driven, a “poser” if you will, someone being paid by adoption profiteers to act well the part. The lack of ability to comment or to engage in meaningful discourse regarding adoption in all its truths (the good – sometimes there is good; the bad – sometimes there is bad; AND the outright ugly – and let’s face it, there’s a lot of ugly in adoption. Hello Guatemala, Uganda, China, India????) leaves me skeptical of the true role of the blog “authors.” It’s pretty easy to suss out a poser if they are willing to dialogue with you. No comments = no dialogue.

      Or maybe she’s one of the outliers who ***truly*** wants to give up her baby, even if all obstacles are removed. I personally don’t know any of woman like that, but I have to hold space they exists. After all, I know of the opposite end of normal curve, mothers who died because they lost their children. Statistically speaking, there have to be those few on the other end of things, too, those who think adoptions is what every woman should do with their children because it is so a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

      • That’s exactly what I thought! That it did not seem real at all, especially since it’s from the adoption kool aid handbook word for word. And SOMEONE would be commenting, at least family, friends, or supporters. I hope that’s true, I hope it’s fake. (shudder)

  4. I would be so glad if my mother felt like you do. If we could be in pain together, and hold each other and cry until we couldn’t anymore, because of what we lost. But we cannot. She won’t cry anymore. She says she has cried enough. She can’t grieve with me. She fears me. I bring the pain.

    • I am so sorry. I believe there can be healing from adoption, but complete healing only comes when both mother and child are open to allowing it to happen. I hope you can remember it is not you that is broken, it is adoption. Adoption did this to your mother and you. NOT YOU.

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