Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Primal Wound

I've posted before about pre-birth and birth memories and referenced such books as The Primal Connection and Babies Remember Birth. In The Primal Wound, these books are also referenced. I don't know why I haven't read this book until now, but it should be #1 on every adoptive parent's bookshelf and available for adopted children to read as soon as it is appropriate.

Yesterday, I attended a workshop at my agency called Identity and the Adoptive Family. I've attended one before, but felt the need to connect with others like myself and spare some time for this aspect of my life besides buying baby things.

One of the other single moms there nearly cried when she saw me. We started out together but she adopted her son from Guatemala and brought him home the day before adoptions were suspended. This woman felt so much for me because, here she was enjoying her son, and I was still waiting. It was heart warming to feel her care and concern.

My agency has a free lending library so I borrowed The Primal Wound and began reading it in my bathtub, but had to hop out and grab a pen and my journal because the language the author uses makes many things I've already learned plainly and painfully clear.

One of these things is that I can never replace my daughter's mother. Yes, she will love me and I will be here mom, but I can never fill that void in her soul reserved, and rightfully so, for her birthmother.

The author distinguishes between attachment and bonding, which I'm very glad to see. Attachment, she defines as, "...a kind of emotional dependence, which may seem crucial to their survival. Bonding, on the other hand, may not be so easily achieved. It implies a profound connection, which is experienced at all levels of human awareness."

On page 25 the author describes a conversation she had when her daughter, who was adopted, was 14. (girl to mom) "I understand that she had to give me up, Mom, but why doesn't that make me feel any better?" (mom replies) "It is the 14-year-old girl who understands the reasons for her relinquishment, but the feelings are those of a newborn baby who simply feels the loss of a mother who never came back."

I am finding this information supremely helpful on two fronts, one, for Apple's sake and, two, for my own personal reasons. My mother has had many husbands, 6 to be exact. Only one died, #5, the rest went away due to divorce, my mom initiating it. I have discovered in the last year something terrible that I greatly suspected but how have confirmation of. My mother deliberately did all she could to severe ties between me and my father and all paternal relatives. These people are good people, dairy farmers, perhaps less sophisticated than my maternal family would have liked, but the mistakes (mostly due to lack of sophistication) my paternal relatives made did not warrant the treatment they received and we all suffered, me the absolute most of all.

My first step-father I had from age 2-7 and to me, he was my dad. I don't have a picture of him; my mother destroyed them all. I am burning to know what he looked like because I cannot remember and it haunts me. In my life, one day he was simply gone and there wasn't a trace of him. I remember his parents, too, my grandparents for 5 years and they, too, were simply gone.

I'd often wondered why my paternal grandparents never came to visit me, why I always had to go to them (until age 6 when my mother was able to prevent visitation through coercement of me) and now I know, they were prevented from doing so by my mother.

I have experienced abandonment, many times. I am only now learning, through the information I have found around adoption, explanations for who I am, how I am, why I have feelings that I have. The conversation mentioned above between the mother and daughter put into words so clearly why, no matter what I did with any of my "dads," I couldn't fill the holes in my soul, and that no matter what I do now, I still cannot because the injury happened to a child and that child no longer exists but is a grown adult now.

It is precisely because of this that reunions between reliquished children and their birthparents don't heal the wound either. It's forever and we learn to put it into perspective and live with it, some better than others.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cat Cuteness

Please click on this picture to see in enlarged. It's amazing! My gorgeous, loving Sam curled up in Velvet's tail. Sam continues to be great at taking care of all of us. He's particularly loving and caring of Henry.

Henry sandwich or Oreo cookie! Velvet (Nini) is also takes excellent care of Henry. We all make a great team!

Birthday Boys!

My "Brother-Boys", Henry (left) and Brother (right), turned one year old around the beginning of April. As you can see, Brother is a strapping lad of a cat and Henry is a forever kitten.

From the back their size discrepancy is much more pronounced. Brother weighs in around 10 pounds and Henry's struggles to stay at five pounds.

April was not a good month for Henry. He fell just below five pounds and it took some intensive food therapy to get him to gain anything. At his best, he gains one ounce per week. To give you some perspective of how pathetic this is, a healthy kitten gains one ounce per day!

Henry is sometimes skinny, sometimes very skinny and sometimes almost "fat". Fat, for Henry, means not skinny, but a little meat over his backbone. Yes, I can feel every ounce he weighs, or not, depending on the day. In most pictures he looks normal, but, as you can see, it's all about the angle of the camera.

These pictures of Henry in my bassinet don't even come close to showing how adorable he was on this day. When the moms came to pick up their children from childcare, they all oohed and ahhed over him. He's on the Boppy in the bassinet and it's the most ideal position and angle for him to sleep, from a digestive standpoint. I think because of the setting and the fact that he felt wonderful having his tummy in the right position, he was very, very, very relaxed and it made him look extra adorable to all of us.

I have finally come to realize that each day is different for Henry. There is no "stable" like I thought we'd reach. What works one day doesn't work the next or it works for a week straight and then never again. I frequently have to get up at night to medicate him. Ideally, he'd have a dose of Reglan exactly every 6 hours around the clock, but most of the time, well, about 70% of the time, he makes it 8 to 10 hours through the night and I don't have to get up. Henry is high maintanence and he's always going to be this way. I have more patience with him that I ever expected I could have for anything except Apple. He's so very loving that it must make me this way. I've never gotten impatient or angry with him for taking over an hour to eat one little morsel. It's so clear that he's trying hard and doing to best he can, even if he only manages to smell his food and can't take a bite.

I have to make a video, if I can, of how he smells his food. It's like a nose ballet in his little bowl!

Not to be outdone, Brother is a very loving, sensitive cat. He is bashful with strangers, but velcro with me. He has a sense of humor and loves to play. He loves taking his toys out of the basket and putting them all over the house. He and Merlin are perfect wrestling mates. They are never too rough with each other, ever! Brother is very clever; he can open plastic food containers and eat the food before you can blink. Merlin and Poppy are his accomplices. He can talk and has a sweet, high voice. I love when he talks. If he was human, he'd sound a bit like M.J., I think, high pitched and breathy, but soft-spoken and melodic.

Brother is very tactile with his front paws. He loves to touch things with his "hands." If I rub or pet them, he's in heaven. He pats me and reaches out if I pass by him. He can reach into impossible spaces and retrieve things, often things he shouldn't be getting into.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Did You Know...

that in 1977 Julie Andrews adopted two children from Vietnam?

"We wanted a child and weren't being successful," Andrews told PEOPLE in 1977 of adopting two Vietnamese orphans, Amy Leigh and Joanna Lynne (now 36 and 34, respectively), with husband Blake Edwards. "It's been wonderful to watch two pale, sad-eyed creatures blossom." Now she's a grandmother to seven, saying, it's been "wonderful because you get all the fun and you get to spoil as much as you like."

Monday, June 7, 2010