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I’m Not Good at This

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12 replies on “I’m Not Good at This”

Ugh. I so get this. Not only as an introvert but as a mother who surrendered her first born child, only daughter, to adoption 29 years ago. This anxiety has always plagued me.

I once hosted an au pair from Germany who decided to google me AFTER we had welcomed her into our home and she started to care for my sons while I worked. Once she googled, she was HORRIFIED and she literally reported me to the agency asking to be removed and placed with another family as I was not the quality of mother she cared to help.

When I was online dating post divorce, I also had male prospects google me. They, unilke women, were remarkably understanding and genuinely wanted to understand and were considerate.

And THEN there is my ex husbands who hired a genealogy researcher to help him with his family research. She found me and “reported” me to him. He was horrified and told me I was not allowed to use my married name in adoption circles.

I am not a big social person locally. Your post makes me think if subconsciously these incidents and more cause me to limit, ahem, protect myself.

Ah…the joys of small town living. Keep your head up and wear sunglasses so they can’t see you roll your eyes. All kidding aside. I know it’s hard???? what amazes me is that so many people are in “love” with adoption being the solution to many problems, yet when they see it they get all weird about it.

This post grabbed me. I can relate to it in so many ways. Six months ago we moved to our new home in a new city and state. My girls are quickly making friends and there are the normal questions: where do you live? Do you have a dog or a cat? (um, a fish…) Do you have any brothers or sisters? My eleven-year old is wide open and super comfortable telling everyone she has a little sister who’s four and a big brother who is 26. That turns a few heads! And often warrants a bit of an explanation. My four-year old, on the other hand, knows and loves her brother very much. But when a new little friend or a teacher asks about her family, she defaults to mentioning just the people who live in our home.
I’m definitely guarded about who I share my story with. Like you, I’m protecting my kids and my family. But I’m also protecting my heart. Guilt and shame are powerful and horrible emotions that tend to surface when nosy, judgy people pass their unsolicited opinions.
You *are* a normal family.
Be kind to yourself.
And I hope people are kind to you and your family in return.
xo

Okay here’s the thing: your daughter is an amazing part of your life. You are an amazing and successful mother to your boys. You are beautiful. You run freaking marathons. You have a successful career. Your husband (from what you write) seems to be a wonderful person and your marriage appears to be strong. People who are going to give you crap aren’t really doing it because they are offended by the decisions you made years ago during a very stressful time. They are doing it because they are very, very jealous of your life.

For all of your kids. ?

You are an amazing woman and should be proud of this post and your choices. Keep being kind. Much love.

Oh Jenna, I could have written all of this. I’ve been on the same side of those comments too, and that wall you build around yourself to protect from them? It’s huge. We’ve lived here for three years now. I gave my phone number out to someone for the first time just a week ago. I only just learned the names of the mom’s at my daughter’s dance class last week (and I’ve seen them weekly since September). Part of it is my introverted nature, but so much of it is wrapped up in all of those Big Things that make me, me. All of my things- mental health, the adoption, my son’s diagnosis process, and life after, exmormonism – are out there. I’m okay with that, but I also know how much that impacts my kids too, and their friends.

I don’t want to co-opt your post here, but I get it. So much.

In the cocoon world in which I apparently live, I find it SO hard to believe that people would actually be unkind/uncaring/unsupportive of a person like you who has made what has to be one of life’s toughest decisions, and who has come out on the other end of that decision-making process with not just one, but two families full of love. But even harder to comprehend is that the fallout from such unkind/uncaring/unsupportive attitudes (and apparently actions) could cause emotional harm to your beautiful children. What is WRONG with people? What is wrong with our world in which unkindness is not only perpetrated but tolerated. What kind of example are those u/u/u (for the sake of brevity) adults setting for their children?

I hope your fears this time are unfounded. I hope this time you encounter gentleness and acceptance. Maybe even a new friend who will come up to you and say “Hey, I saw…I’ve been there…I did that too…want to talk over coffee sometime?”

Oh my dear friend. It breaks my heart that you have anxiety about this. You life choices, past, present and future, do not define who you are at the core of your being.

I don’t get the people out there who say, “We teach our kids not to judge others.” Then they turn around and judge the heck out of everyone else.

You’re a wonderful woman and have a beautiful family. I’m glad we met all those years ago. ????

for me, the beautiful part of others judging me is my not giving a fuck. what they think makes no difference as to how i will live this moment on and it sure as shit can’t change the past. do i want people to like me? sure! will people not liking me change the fact that others like and even love me? not a bit.
jenna, you are so thoughtful and kind and smart and an all around damn fine woman. people feel blessed because they know you. you are totally enough. more than enough. you are incredible!

p.s. sometimes i say stupid stuff and don’t mean to be insensitive or judgmental…i just engage my mouth before even considering that the thoughts could possibly be taken wrong. i bet others are the same.

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