What do snow and adoption have in common?

Mar 24, 2013 by

Spring Snow

Image Credit: Warren Brown Photography via Flickr

Snow

It is Spring in Ohio.  Temperatures on the official first day of Spring were around freezing.  Weather forecasters reminded us that one year ago, the temperature on the first day of Spring was in the 70’s.

Yesterday, I enjoyed walking in the sunshine with only a light jacket.  Spring was in the air.  Today?  Today it snows.  We’re told to expect up to ten inches of the fluffy white stuff before this storm passes through.

I’ve seen a lot of moaning and complaining about this late winter storm on Facebook.  I haven’t joined in.  Why?  It’s NOT because I love Winter. I am more than ready to walk barefoot in the grass and to soak up the warmth of the sun.  I’m ready to see the Spring flowers bloom.  And I’m definitely ready to put away winter coats and wool sweaters and bring out short sleeves and sandals.

I haven’t joined in the complaining because I gave up complaining for Lent.  And it’s still Lent.  More importantly, though, I’m not complaining because it is totally.  Out. Of. My. Control.

I am learning that accepting that many circumstances are out of my control improves my relationships and my life.  

Acceptance

I’m taking a guess that my day today will be much more pleasant because I’m choosing to not be unhappy about this early Spring snowstorm.  I can also think of other times my life has been happier because I accepted what I can not change:

My husband did not like traveling to Europe.  (He DID give it a try.)  I do.  I could pout and beg.  Then we could both not enjoy the trip.  Instead, I chose to take a trip with friends and I had a wonderful time.  We were both happy when I did not try to change the fact that he wasn’t interested in traveling to Europe again.

I don’t love every choice my adult children have made.  When I choose to remember that they are adults and capable of making their own choices, I am much happier.  And when I choose to remember that  I am an adult and I am capable of choosing my own reaction to their choices, I am much happier.

Adoption

Accepting circumstances outside of my control also affects my experience as an adoptee.  All of the circumstances of my adoption were completely outside of my control.  I had no say in any part of the adoption process.  Even as an adult who has searched for and found birth parents, there are many circumstances that remain outside of my control.

Today, most importantly for me, that means acknowledging that I can’t change that I was born in an era when unwed mothers were shamed.  And I can’t change that my birth mother has kept my existence a secret and doesn’t want a relationship with me.

That means accepting that, though I have the right to know about my birth family, I do not have the right to a relationship with her.  Relationships are two-way streets and today, the road is definitely a one way dead end.

Is it what I prefer?  No.  But just like I can’t control the weather, I can’t control my birth mother’s choices.  When I accepted this truth, my inner turmoil began to dissolve.

It’s also funny how, once I accepted the truth that my birth mother’s choices are about her and not me,  I began to see the choices I DO have open to me.  By losing what I can’t control, I had room in my head for what IS possible.

  • She wouldn’t tell my my father’s name.  I figured it out without her help.
  • I reached out to other birth family members (who knew I existed) and I have discovered open hearts and open doors.
  • I began to look outside of my own circumstances and began truly learning about how adoption affects others.
  • I have been able to channel my energy to an area of adoption where I can play a role in change:  adoptee rights reform.  I have access to my original birth certificate. Many adoptees do not.   I can bring my voice and my energy to this cause.  When I was focused on events I could not control, I was not able to look beyond myself.   Now, I’m using my voice to help those who don’t have the same rights I have and I am finding great joy in contributing to this cause.  As a plus, the wonderful people I have connected with since I’ve started looking beyond myself have been a wonderful gift.

Snow and Adoption

Just in case it’s not totally clear, I completely believe snow and adoption have something in common:  lack of control.  I hope I’ve shown you here that accepting circumstances outside our control and bring happiness and new opportunities.

I would love to hear from you if you have examples from your life about how accepting what you didn’t have control over improved your life.

 

(I owe much of my growth in accepting what IS to Brooke Castillo and her no-bullshit style and to Susan Hyatt and her Life is Delicious philosophy, also completely no-bullshit.)

8 Comments

  1. I love that you are finding open doors with this shift Becky. My family is formed via adoption and I have gotten to known many teen and adult adoptees with different paths. I remember one who told me the story of her search which ended in discovering what you discovered- that her birth mother wanted to keep her existence a secret. I hope that all can find peace on their path- whatever it is. I am so fortunate to have my family and I pray that each member of each adoption “triangle” finds peace..in their own way. Love, Sarah

    • Becky

      Thank you so much, Sarah. I appreciate your insight and your comments. I enjoy reading what you write about your experience with adoption — for Maria Shriver’s blog and in “Born to Freak”. You are wonderful! Love, Becky

  2. Love this so much. Very inspirational how you can explain with rawness and loving eyes intimate aspects of adoption and how it relates to the whole picture. You are a very remarkable woman! xoxo

  3. I love this notion of acceptance. There is SO much we adoptees DIDN’T have control over, and that sucks. But there are things we DO have control over, and it is a great feeling to attack with gusto those things that we can change.

    Warmly,
    Laura

  4. Hi Becky,
    I missed this post and am now linking your blog to mine so I don’t miss any others! I can so relate to your thoughts here. I too found an original mother who prefers to remain “in the closet,” but I do appreciate that I was at least able to talk with her by phone. I too struggle over whether to make contact with a half-sister, when my original mother asked me via a letter to “please not make trouble.” As you say, we can’t control the fact that we were born in an era when unwed mothers were shamed. But we can work to point out the flaws in adoption practice and to make it work better for everyone involved. Glad we have connected!

    • Becky

      Thank you so much for reading, Susan. I have also come to a place in life where I feel like it’s my mission to do my part to improve practices in adoption. As I’m connecting with more and more adoptees I’ve learned that every story is unique and similar at the same time. If that makes sense…. For those of us who didn’t find an open door, we can only hope that in time hearts will soften.

  5. Your post about what is and isn’t within our control as adoptees is so beautifully said, and inspiring, and true! It’s peace generating to think about what is within your control as an adoptee. My best to you and your blog!

    • Becky

      Thank you, Christine! I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment.

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