Saturday, February 18, 2012

Part 2

I don't even know how to start this part. It's hard to find the right word when it comes to stating the facts  without pointing fingers to others. Maybe I should start with this....

Things were 'good' with my parents. Couple of years ago, my youngest sister came to live with us with the hope to be able to finish her high school and to experience what it is like living abroad. Let's just say that she and our family (DH and I) have different values, and things didn't work out for us to have my youngest sister living with us. She was having a hard time adjusting with our rules and values, which is understandable, since for 15 years she had been living with my parents and their values. She took out her frustration in not-very-nice ways. After she went back to my country, unfortunately, my dear sister is holding a grudge and bitterness against our family, especially me (how I can relate :) ).

There were some occasions that my sister lashed out her bitterness and anger towards DH and I in a very hurtful way for our family, especially for me. After one incident, I sent out an e-mail to my mom, explaining about how I feel about not being treated as a family member..yada..yada...yada.., and let's just say that I feel her explanation didn't solve the problem.

I feel that the way my parents reacted to these incidents have deepened my wounds and I feel that it is just another confirmation to me that I haven't being treated as a member of their family. I feel that they held their peace at no cost, after all, siblings fight, right?. Part of it might be my pride too. I know that I should be able to forgive right away even before I was asked, and I shouldn't expect that my sister will ask for an apology, since she is just as stubborn as I am. However, feeling that I wasn't treated as a daughter, especially after what happened with my baby, has made it even harder. Right now, I feel that I have forgiven my sister, I know it because when I remember about what she did or said I don't feel any anger.

However, I haven't been able to forgive my parents when I remember how they responded to these incidents. This is the area that I have to work on. I feel that my parents knew what my sister did was wrong and disrespectful, but they would say that it was just a phase, 'a teenager's phase'. I feel that my parents just stood there and watching when my sister lashed out at me in a very hurtful way, without even saying "stop, you're not treating your sister like that, even though your sister might be wrong, but lashing out like that is disrespectful".

I feel that they want to be 'fair' and didn't want to take side even though their youngest daughter was being rude to her sister. I didn't expect for them to take sides. I might approach the problem the wrong way, I should have learnt my lesson and just kept my mouth shut, but regardless, I feel that that's not the reason for someone to say hurtful things and being disrespectful, am I making sense? Again, they didn't address the incidents, and just keep their silence.

I feel that I am required by my parents that I should have just excepted the fact that rudeness was just one of those "teenagers' phase" that my youngest sister is going through. Again, I know it is my pride, I know in my brain that I should be able to accept that it is what it is. So there....the wounded wounds.

We have been enjoying reading Once Upon a Time Saints, and recently we bought the sequel of More Once Upon a Time Saints. Yesterday, we read about the story of St. Moses the black. This dear saint was a robber, who repented. He had a bad habit of short temper. He knew about this bad habit of his, and he shared this problem to one of the hermits. The hermit took him to the top of the hill early in the morning to watch the sunrise. When the sunrise started, the hermit explained that the sun slowly spread its light and the darkness slowly turn into the day. St. Moses the black understood that he can't expect a quick fix to get rid of his short temper. He knew that the graces the Lord will give him, will slowly work on this bad habit, just like the sun in the dawn. I guess what I'm trying to understand is that in this healing process, I can't rush things too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scattered thoughts and feelings of a daughter....and a broken trust part 1

My posts lately have been so whinney and all about me. Then again...these are the feelings that I've been keeping for EIGHT YEARS!!! I think it's time to let them out now. Hopefully it will help me heal. This time it will be about my relationship with my parents post placement. What I wrote will be my feelings, I need to write and let them out in order, hopefully, to see clearly where the Lord wants me to see. These feelings are ugly, but again....sins are ugly. I have to say that I do have good parents..but...well..I know as a mom, I myself screw up again and again, who doesn't?.

Only recently, I realize that I feel I have parents who prefer to avoid confrontation. I feel that my parents are the type of parents who prefer to keep peace at all cost.

After the placement, they didn't mention anything about what just happened. I feel that they acted like nothing happened, like it was no biggy. I, of course allowed myself to believe that it was not biggy. Not until recently that I realized it WAS a big deal. I JUST LOST A CHILD AT THAT TIME!!! There will always be grief and mourn after a child is placed. The baby was with me for the whole nine months!! and she was taken away from me by 'family honor'(At least that's how I feel right now, given my circumstances and stories).

By acting that it was 'no biggy', I put the monster to sleep. Life was back to 'normal'. I got married to the love of my life, and our first child was born. My relationship with my parents was fine, back to where it was.  Sure, once in a while there was regret, anger, what ifs, but I quickly brushed them off,  I cried by myself or told my DH.

However..the wound is so deep, and I just buried it as wasn't getting better, big mistake. The wound is just like cancer, eating me little by little. Without realizing it, every time my parents gave me advice, I became defensive, and suddenly the wound open, hurting me. Every time my parents gave me their opinion, I feel like I want to scream "DON'T GIVE ME ANY ADVICE, BECAUSE THE LAST TIME I TOOK YOUR 'ADVICE' I LOST MY CHILD". The most obvious sign of my defensive mechanism, and the way I found out was when my mom tried to give me her opinions when they found out that we were going to adopt children from know..adopting a child with different color.. So every time they said something...silently I 'bled' and silently scream 'WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM ME? YOU WANT ME TO GIVE AWAY MY CHILD AND I DID, SO LEAVE ME ALONE", and there..I violated the 4th Commandment.

 Really...not a single word from my parents after the placement. A dear holy priest said that the culture in my parents' generation (a.k.a old people) they don't like talking about things that hurt because they don't want to hurt you more (Really? how can it possibly hurt me more than I already am?) While I'm trying to understand, but it has been delaying my healing process. By not talking to me about it, by pretending that it never happened, it just makes me feel that I have a conformation that 'family honor' is indeed more important. I feel that they can breath safely now that the 'problem has been take care off', that it won't cause shame to their family. It has been giving me conformation that I am indeed was treated not as a daughter and it is indeed my responsibility to 'safe' the other family members.

My dad..the one who told me to kill my child in order to safe the other family members...the one who told me that it is better to sacrifice one life than five lives..the one who indirectly put this burden upon my shoulders has said NOTHING about it.

My mom...well....ever since the placement, I always put my child's photos on a fridge, because my child is part of our family no matter where she is. After all, she is my birth child. My oldest knows that she has a sibling who doesn't live with us. Anyway...couple of years ago, my mom planned to come visit to my house with my grandmother, who doesn't know anything about what's going on..because of course...hush..hush... well, one day, she e-mailed me and told me that since my grandmother was coming with her to my house, she asked me to put away all the photos on the fridge so my grandmother won't know it...I lost it, I e-mailed her back. My mom replied, she apologized, and for that I'm grateful. During their visit, the photos were still there, my grandmother...being so advance in age, didn't even noticed them.

Although my mom has apologized, I haven't been able to forgive, because mostly I haven't been able to forgive myself for being so stupid and didn't stand up for my self and my baby. People say forgive and forget, but our brains don't work that way. If we forget, we would never learn. So Again..forgiveness is something that I need lots of graces to be able to do it. The story hasn't ended yet, prayers are much needed :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

What is 'Fair'?

While I was pregnant, I mentioned to the couple that I wished to receive photos and updates once a year. I sensed that they were a little bit surprise by my request. I think at that time the Holy Spirit gave me this idea. I'm glad for this, because I have no idea what it would have been if I didn't ask. They told me that they need to talk about it first, they agreed, and they have kept their promise ever since, and for that, I'm grateful. The first year, they even sent me photos and updates every three months.

Of course I'm just a never-satisfied creature. Couple of months after placement, I missed my baby terribly. I started to think that maybe once a year update and photos won't be enough. I wrote to them and asked them if they're willing to send me photos and update couple of times a year. They denied my idea and they said that once a year update is best for their family. Of course I have to obliged since I signed off my parenting right.

I'm grateful that they're keeping their promise, although by law they don't have to, but at the same time I can't deny this strong longing to see more of her photos and updates. Really....12 photos (max) and a two pages letter a year is not enough for this momma. My child for sure is doing more activities than those 12 photos.

I snapped dozens of photos of Gerard for his birth mother. DH said that some of the photos are just the same, I said 'no, look, he is tilting his head a little bit in this one'. I feel so annoyed that I only receive few photos of my child that I took lots and lots of photos of Gerard and send everything to his birth mother because I know that receiveing lots of photos meant a lot to me. I quickly worked my calendar and be available as soon as she expressed her desire to see Gerard.

When I was pregnant, they would call me couple of times a month, just to say 'hi'. I thought it was nice. The wife is a second cousin of my friend whom I know well, so I treated the couple as an extended family too. I gave them the hospital bracelet, I let them to visit me at my apartment to hold the baby (yes, I took the baby home with me for couple of days). Now....well...

Your see...before they adopted my baby, they've already adopted a little girl. She was four when my baby was born. When I placed my desired to receive updates once a year, they mentioned that they need to talk about it since they know little about the birth mother of their first child. Maybe they don't even have contact with her birth family.

I sensed that they want to be 'fair' to both of their children. I feel that they might feel 'unfair' to the first child if they let their second child to have contact and relationship with me while the other daughter not. I express my desired to be able to hug my child (visit), they denied, and they assured me that they'll support fully for my child to have a relationship with me as an adult. From that statement, I assume that they're planning to tell the girls the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth when they reach adulthood.

Well, I think that adoption is a very complex thing. So many things involved in adoption. First and foremost is the grief, feeling of rejection. It's only have so much space in your brain and your heart, and by the time you're...say..18...boom...'here's all the fact about your adoption'. I feel that if the child is introduced at the early age to the birth mother (if the birth mother wishes to do so and if she is known) or about adoption, hopefully the child knows how much the birth mother loves him at an early age. If there are visits, the meeting between the child and his birth mother becomes a to say...habit?...regular?...a way of life?..I can't find the right word. The point is that the child will feel that 'my birth mother does care because she still wants to see me and wants to know me.' or at ;east when the child hears over and over again about his birth mother since an early age, it won't be a strange concept for him. Instead of 'where has she been for all these 18 years?' 'she must not love me'

Maybe these consideration made my child's adoptive parents decided to wait until adulthood with the hope that they'll be able to receive the news better, especially for their first child.

While I'm trying to understand, but I feel that it's not fair for my child. It still hurt being denied a relationship with your child at her early age. Each child has different story. My child's story is different from her sibling. The adoptive family still visit my friend and her family. My friend is able to see my child at least once a year. It's like, everybody knows about me,  her birth mother, except the child herself. Now, every time my friend see the family, she'll call me and give me 'secret report'.

I asked DH if I should try again to ask them to increase the frequency of photos. DH said that I asked once (although it was 8 years ago) and is denied. He's worried that if I ask again they'll even stop altogether the once a year very min update that I have. I don't think I can handle being denied anymore. I guess I'll just wait for whatever The Lord wants me to do on this one. In the mean time, I have to learn to accept that once a year update it is. I'll just see that this once a year update is what the Lord allows me to have...uuurrrggghhhh....I wished I learn more about this family and I wish I learn more about adoption, and I wish this family could be flexible

So many questions running through my they even tell her that she is adopted or they'll wait till she an adult ? If they don't tell her, it's so heartbreaking to let a child believes that she was born to them while the truth is she is my flesh and blood. If they do tell her, what will they answer be if she asks about me? will they lie?

How would my child feel when she knows that everybody knows about me, even her parents' second cousin, whom she meets regularly and in fact is talking with her birth mother occasionally on the phone? Would she feel that I don't try to have contact with her? How should I answer when my child asks me why I don't try to contact her and see her?

This situation of not being able to have an early relationship helps me to see how to be 'fair' with Gerard, especially when we're adopting another child. If we have the situation like this, each child will know their own story from an early age no matter how hard it is (of course it will be given little by little according to the age), and I will be there crying and hurting with them. Each child will be able to have a relationship with their birth mothers if the birth mothers wish to do so.

It is true that my job as their mom is to protect them. Oh.. how my heart will break into pieces for them, but at the same time, I think letting them know their stories at an early age will help them as children's hearts and mind are easier to mend and balm. They are all my children, biological or adopted, and I love them all the same, I'll die for them, but I wouldn't hide one's child story in order to 'protect' another, it will be painful for me as a mother, but it is necessary.

It will be a learning lesson for everybody to love one's neighbor. To learn to rejoice for the other's good fortune instead of being envy and jealous. To learn to accept God's story for each of us. Well..first thing first I guess..I have to learn to accept God's story for me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Do not be afraid, just have faith" (Mark 5: 21-43)

I've been having these gloomy episodes. Often times they comes while I'm washing dishes, like this morning. We don't have a dishwasher, so every morning I have to stand for couple of minutes scrubbing pots and pans and other stuff.

It was terrible (not the washing dish part). So much anger, what ifs, regrets, etc. It was ugly. I could feel this anger from my wound, fresh and new as if it was from yesterday. I could hear my kiddos' voices and cries, but I felt that I wasn't there. I allowed my self to be drawn to this anger and I dwell in it.

I'm about to start a journey, at least that's what I understood. A journey of healing. I know that in my head, letting go is the right thing to do. However, knowing and to actually living it are two different things. I'm still holding back, unintentionally...I think. My weaknesses, pride, and controlling nature have made it difficult for me to just 'let go'.

The enemy is also striking again and again and again. Satan knows that I'm about to start a journey, and he just never and can't leave me alone. There are times that I feel that I'm being presented over and over again with the scenes from my past, the what ifs, and all those questions that trigger my anger, pain, regret and other ugly stuff.

There were times like this morning, and there will be times that I'm being pulled into my anger zone that makes me have to force myself to crawl out and with a great effort, to throw myself in His mercy. There are times that I feel so angry because I don't feel I'm being treated fairly by my kid's adoptive parents after the way I treat them. I'm angry because I feel that my child's right to know me is denied. Then again...what can I do? it's even pointless to feel angry about it. There are times that I think "Maybe I should ask again for them to send me more photos, after all, it was 8 years ago, the last time I asked".

Often times I feel that I can't do this, who cares about 'living in the present moment' advice, the anger and pain just comes again and again and again. Our Lord answered me....

Couple of days ago, during my meditation, I read a story about Our Lord, who was about to get on the boat and sail. He told His disciples "Let us go to the other side". When they were in the middle of the sea, there was a bad storm, terrible wind and rain, the disciples were so afraid, and Our Lord was sleeping. They woke Him up, scared to death, and The Lord calmed the storm while questioning His beloved disciples' faith.

Call me crazy, but I feel that it is His personal invitation to me. He looked at me and told me "Let us go to the other side". Right now I'm on the side of my past, full of sadness, wounds, anger caused by my sins. He is inviting me to get on the boat to other side. Now, of course the journey won't be pretty. There will be doubts, anger, pain, and those ugly things, but I have to keep asking Our Lord to increase my faith, that no matter what, He is with me. I need to trust Him. He might be 'sleeping', but He is in the same boat with me. It might be journey for a lifetime, though. I'm scared of this journey because I know that I will fall so many times, but I know this journey is important because I need to love.Urrrggghhh...I don't like this journey :(

Another day, I also read the story about Our Lord, who was on His way to cure this dying young child. A woman who suffered from hemorrhage touched His cloth and immediately healed. All because of her faith. The dying child died when Our Lord arrived, but He said "Do not be afraid, just have faith" and another miracle happened. There you go, He told me to have faith.

I mentioned before that often times I feel that I treated the adoptive family just like my extended family when I was pregnant. Now, I feel that they don't want or want minimum contact with me. I feel unappreciated. Well....He answered me again. During our family Holy Hour, I grabbed this small booklet. It is a small collection of Our Lord's conversation with St. Faustina taken from her diary. I told Him about how I feel...then my eyes laid on this particular turns out that this beloved Saint had the same problem too...feeling unappreciated. Our Lord spoke to me directly through this writing saying that I feel the way I'm feeling because I rely on people to make me feel satisfied and appreciated. I put my hope at the wrong place.

It's funny how the more you teach the more you'll learn. Well, in our religion class, we were learning about The Station. We read about how the disciples fell asleep even though Our Lord told them to watch and pray.  In a simple language, the book explained that Our Lord told His disciples that they'll sin if they don't watch and pray, and He was right, they all ran away because they were weak and scared. 

I have to train myself to be alert all the time. I can't control the feelings. When the anger comes ...and it will come,  I have to be able to quickly say a little prayer, begging for mercy, and not dwelling in anger. Of course, as usual, it is easier said than done. A dear holy priest told me that feeling angry is not a sin, what makes it a sin is when I act in a wrong way or when I dwell in this anger. I have to learn to recognize when the anger is about to come. Watch and pray, asking for strength and courage.

I found these quotes, it's amazing how His answer is always on time, isn't it?

God wastes nothing - not even sin. The soul that has struggled and come through is enriched by it's experiences, and Grace does not merely blot out the evil past but in the most literal sense "makes it good."- Dorothy SayersE

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.-Matthew Henry