Friday, February 16, 2007

Birth Mothers

For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about Lana's birthmother lately.

Well, in truth I've been thinking a lot about her foster mother AND her birth mother, and a line from a poem called, "Love Will Grow" which I believe I have mentioned before. The line of the poem is something like, "in your eyes lie memories of other mothers."

This line is particularly true for Lana - memories of another mother. And for her, that mother is Lan, her foster mom. (Yes, the same first name.) When Lana came across a photo of Lan, Phuong (foster sister), Husband and I (from the morning we met them), she was first extremely excited, and happily pointed and said, "Ma!" and pointed to her foster mom, and then a word we didn't understand when she pointed to Phuong, and then "Ba!" when she pointed out David. And then she came to me (I was the last in line in the photo), and she looked confused and freaked out and had a mini-meltdown, and we put the picture away. Her memories of her "Ma" are obviously still very clear to her. And her "Ma" was Lan.

And when I think about Lan (the foster mom), I feel grateful and sad - grateful that she loved this child, that she comforted this child, that she held this child and cared for her and mothered her. I feel sad because I know that Lan (the foster mother) is sad, that she misses Lana, especially right now, this week when Tet is starting.

But, when I think about Lien (birth mother), I just feel...angry.

I know, I know that is SO WRONG on SO MANY levels. But, I'm trying to be honest, and in all honestly, when I think about her, I get mad.

I'm not entirely sure why, but, I think what it comes down to is this:

Lien relinquished her child in November of 2002 to the orphanage. That child (MY child) was matched to a family in America and no doubt Lien was told this. Lana was placed with her foster mom to await departure to the U.S. A departure that didn't happen due to the shutdown.

Fortunately for my daughter, she remained with the foster family for almost four years, awaiting the departure that was 4 years in coming, to Husband and I, and not to the family that was originally matched to her.

I have often wondered, if Lien was informed that Lana had not left Vietnam. I don't know anything for sure, except than on September 26, 2006, Lien signed a new set of relinquishment papers, specifically stating that she had relinquished her in 2002 and was still of a mind to allow Lana to be adopted.

It also has a bit of language where Lien affirms that she "was not married to any person" on Nov. 5, 2002 (the date of Lan's birth.) Perhaps this means she is married now. Perhaps she married shortly thereafter. I don't know. But, I do know, that on September 26, 2006, she signed a paper giving us her daughter, and the address she gave on that day was in DaNang City.

She was supposed to come to the G&R ceremony. But, she didn't come. She did not come to see the people who were taking her daughter to the other side of the planet, and for some reason that I cannot put my finger on exactly, this p*sses me off to no end.

We were told that she lived "too far away" to attend the ceremony, but, that felt like a hollow excuse to me. Four months earlier she was living in the City of DaNang. But, in January she was "too far away" from the city to come?

Logically, I realize that it simply may have been too painful for her to face. Logically I realize that she may have gotten married to someone who knows nothing about the child she relinquished, that she could have jeopordized that relationship. Logically, I know she may have faced losing a job for missing work to attend the ceremony.

But, in my gut, I am furious. Because I jump to the conclusion, that she didn't care enough about Lana to want to know who would love her from now on.

I know it's wrong of me. I do. But, again, I try to be honest here, and this is the cold, hard truth. I am p*ssed at my daughter's birth mother.

I am hoping by putting it out here, in the open, I will be able to get over it. So that by the time Lana understands enough English for me to say anything, I will be able to tell her, and mean it, how much Lien loved her, that she loved her so much she helped to find Husband and I for her. I want to believe that these things are true. I do not want to believe that she didn't care enough to come.

So, there it is. When Lana thinks of her other mother, she thinks of Lan, her foster mom. When I think of Lana's other mother, is is Lan I think of, not Lien.

I know I should be grateful to Lien. I just don't know how to get to that place in my heart.

LM

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know how to get to that place in your heart? It's pretty easy. Stop, for one second, and realize that if she hadn't signed papers, not once, but twice, you wouldn't be her Mother.

And then get down on your knees and thank the Lord/Heavens/what-have-you.

Let go of your anger. You have a child. You are blessed. Your child is blessed. BE blessed.

Friday, February 16, 2007 2:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Another Gretchen said...

I think there's a reason for your anger beyond what you've articulated here. I don't know what it is. But before you bury your anger, it might be worth trying to interrogate why you're angry. Are you really angry at Lan? Is it possible that you're angry at Lana--for her lingering attachment to her foster mother? Is it possible that you're angry at the foster mother for getting so attached to Lana? Could you really be angry at Lan because if she didn't value this child enough to keep her, maybe she's not worth keeping? Obviously, I don't know you and don't even presume to suggest that any of these are the actual reason for your emotions. I do think that there's something important about being able to identify what's really going on with even your ugly emotions, though, and maybe some provocative questions will help you figure out what's going on.

I've been reading and lurking for a while. I love your blog. And from anonymity out on the internet, I'm totally rooting for you and your family!

Friday, February 16, 2007 3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I just had another thought. Maybe you're angry at Lan because you've come to love Lana so much that it makes you angry to think of someone else hurting her. Is that possible? It's clear that you're really falling in love with Lana as a person--as a watchful little girl--and maybe it's hard to imagine anyone hurting her, even if that action was what led her to you.

Friday, February 16, 2007 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger LawMommy said...

Quoting anonymous

"You don't know how to get to that place in your heart? It's pretty easy. Stop, for one second, and realize that if she hadn't signed papers, not once, but twice, you wouldn't be her Mother."

I realize this. I do. I have stopped for much more than one second and considered that if she hadn't signed the papers, Lana wouldn't be my child.

It's *STILL NOT* easy. If it were easy, if it hadn't been weighing on my mind for six weeks, I wouldn't have a need to say it, you know?

And yes, I think the reason I am angry is because it infuriates me to think that someone else might hurt her on purpose, deny her something on purpose, it makes me crazy.

Friday, February 16, 2007 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Here's the thing... I don't think you need to believe she "loved Lan so much" and at the same time, you do have to let go of the anger. Because for whatever reason, the birthmother felt unable to care for Lan and in the end she did was was best in allowing your family to adopt her. (so much better than birthfamilies who leave their kids in orphanages, visit once every 3-4 years or even less, but refuse to sign paperwork relinquishing them to another family!)

BUT - I think there is a purpose in what you are feeling... first, it shows you are bonding with your daughter and feel protective of her. And second, you will, in some small way, be able to empathize with Lana should she ever feel the same way when she is old enough to think about her first 4 years. And if she is scared/ashamed of her anger, you will be able to say, "it's okay, I know a little how that feels. You are entitled to your emotions, and nothing you are feeling is 'wrong'." And I think that will be a very significant thing to be able to say to your daughter.

Friday, February 16, 2007 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

Gretchen,

I have gone through this feeling especially with Nolan. You know the situation. Anyway, it's okay to be mad but you have to realize that you were not her mother then and there was nothing you could have done to change it or protect her. I feel that because I am Nolan's mother that I would never let anyone ever hurt him in anyway and I feel really really mad at anyone who could of and did. You have to let go of this and turn it into a feeling of not understanding and also knowing it is out of your control. Not everything is as it should be...you know? All you can do is be her mom now and do it in the way you know and feel is right. No one REALLY knows the true reason she didn't show up (except her) and I do believe that sometimes there is something that outsiders don't understand and that it may have to remain mystery. Let go and embrace the fact that Lana is loved and has a home now. Not everyone gets that. Lana's brithmother loved her enough to let her go and made sure she really did get to the right place to make that happen. Like Christina said, she could have not signed and put Lana through much worse. We cannot judge what we don't understand. Praying for you!

~Michelle

Friday, February 16, 2007 6:11:00 PM  
Blogger jenn said...

Been through a little of the same and the only advice I have is that time heals much. Letting time pass is hard though, sometimes.

Friday, February 16, 2007 8:17:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Perhaps she didn't come because it would have been too painful for her to see her daughter leave.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:53:00 PM  

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