My Family

If you are new to this blog and want to read the entire story chronologically - please start in January with "Our Story, Part 1"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What is NORMAL?

First of all I would like to thank those of you who have written me e-mails and made positive comments on my blog. I have found so many negative blogs (about adoption) and have been reading so much negative material I was beginning to doubt my abilities as a mother, but my strength is now renewed! Thank you for turning my eyes and heart back to the positive!

As I have been reading the book “The Primal Wound, Understanding the Adopted Child” there are several things that I agree with, and then there are several things that make me question whether the actions of my children are the direct result of being adopted or just normal actions of children growing up and finding out who they are. I tend to side with the latter. I took the book (The Primal Wound) back to the library yesterday, I couldn’t read anymore right now – the following is the last quote I typed from the book:

“Adoption, considered by many as merely a concept, is, in fact, a traumatic experience for the adoptee. It begins with the separation from his biological mother and ends with his living with strangers. Most of his life he may have denied or repressed his feelings about his experience, having had no sense that they would be acknowledged or validated. He may, instead, have been made to feel as if he should be grateful for this monumental manipulation of his destiny. Somewhere within him however, he does have feelings about this traumatic experience, and having these feelings does not mean that he is abnormal, sick, or crazy. It means that he is wounded as a result of having suffered a devastating loss and that his feelings about this are legitimate and need to be acknowledged, rather than ignore or challenged.”

Bryan is my oldest son. He was originally placed with our family when he was 2 ½ years old, a few months later his birth mother wanted to parent him so he went back to be with his mother and grandmother and then returned to our family 14 months later when he was almost four.

I don’t know everything about Bryan during his first four years of life but I know that his mother and grandmother took very good care of him. He is the oldest grandchild so I know he was given a lot of attention and love.

Bryan has always been exceptional… exceptionally smart, exceptionally obedient, and an all around exceptionally successful person. Bryan has a phenomenal memory and amazing recall of past events. He is always willing to help me, usually without being asked. (Is this because he is so depressed and deprived from being adopted, as the author of the Primal Wound would have me believe?) I don't think so!

Bryan receiving his Eagle Scout Award last year.

I often wonder, is Bryan's behavior “normal” or is he an exceptional over achiever due to some "unseen wound" that lies within him due to being adopted? Bryan knows he is adopted; we talk about it openly whenever he has a question. He can e-mail his birth mother at any time, call her on the phone, or talk to her on Facebook, if he chooses to do so. A few years ago when Ruth moved he even came with me and helped Ruth move into her new apartment.

When I asked Bryan what he thought about me keeping my blog “open” he responded that he wanted to keep it open. He said talking about adoption with his friends gives him an opportunity to meet new people and share his beliefs. He was very adamant about keeping my blog available for anyone to read.

(Thus it is still open right now).

I just got back from an awards assembly at his junior high school. Bryan was given the “Soaring Eagle” award (his school mascot is the Eagle) – and he had to be nominated by a teacher, I would like to share what his teacher wrote on his nomination form (the words in CAPS were like that on the nomination) – Bryan gave me his permission to share on my blog:

Camille (me) with Bryan holding his awards

“Bryan is an amazing student. It is not easy to skip a grade, but he did. He was too advanced in 7th grade so he became a 9th grader this year when he should have been in 8th grade normally. I LOVE having him in my computer tech class because he desires to learn all he can from me. I ALWAYS have his full attention when I teach – his eyes are always on me and he listens intently, soaking in all the information.

I LOVE the fact that he wants to learn all he can. He chose to sit front and center in the classroom. Whenever I am teaching and his classmates start talking, he is the first one to speak up and tell them to be quiet. Like I said, he wants to learn all he can, not to be held back by his classmates.

Bryan is a top notch student. The sky is the limit with him, nothing holds him back from achieving. He plows through to be a high achiever… can we clone him???

He is kind, helpful, and friendly with his new 9th grade friends, he fits right in with his fellow high value/high achieving students. He does choose his friends wisely. I am so impressed with Bryan.”

My children are as “normal” as any other teenagers I know with similar questions and concerns with regards to growing up. I decided to just keep focusing on the positive – it far outweighs the negative in my life, especially with regards to my children and our family. I believe my children know they are loved; inevitably they will still have questions with regards to their placement with our family, but we will continue to be open and honest as the questions arise.

We have been blessed beyond measure and I acknowledge my Father in Heaven for blessing me so abundantly!


  1. Nothing is writen in stone and not all things aply to everything, you have beautiful well adjusted children that are lucky to have you, the same way you are lucky to have them. Not everyone is traumatized by everything in their life... I remember people telling my mom all the issues we will have after our parets divorced, I am glad to say nothing happened and we turned out just fine!
    Keep your blog open, I already like following your journey!

  2. This is pretty much the stand I am taking while raising my daughter. If I constantly think about the things adoption has "done" to her, I am going to create things that don't exist... I may create issues and insecurities that may not have been there. I am aware that my daughter may experience pain and other issues from adoption, but I will cross that bridge when we get there!!

    Thanks for blogging and sharing your story! I love it!

  3. You're right - there is no "normal". I think we all have our "stuff" to deal with, and we hide it so well that nobody knows what we're all going through and we think we're so weird that our "stuff" is so different from anyone else's.

  4. ah, this is the Camille that we have come to love and know! The positive you!!! That is what i most admired about you while reading your story, is your perseverance and your ability to see the rays of light on dark days!!

  5. I am just sitting here shaking my head in disbelief . . . I don't understand why adoption is considered such a heinous act. When a selfless mother decides that she cannot do right by her child and gives her baby to someone desperately wanting to love a baby as their own. Another selfish act I'm sure, to want to give of yourself to a child. My FIL is/was adopted and never wanted to know any information of his birth parents, not due to anger, just wasn't a priority to him. He felt his parents that raised him were his parents and that was perfectly acceptable to him. Your son sounds amazing! How blessed you both are to have him as a son and to have you for a mother. Life has positive and negative moments, that is what makes it life! Why would adoption be any different?

  6. I love reading your story, I found it from someone who found it from someone else, anyway so happy you are staying "open". I am not a very religious person but I do think that sometimes families come together the way they are suppose to and I truely believe that adoption is one of the ways to get the right people together. I am glad you took the book back to the library seems like it wasnt doing you much good. Your amazingly open with your children and therefore they will already know everything and wont have to go searching for something. I think you are absolutely amazing and you make me more appreciative of my own motherhood everytime I check up on your blog so thanks.

  7. Bryan is almost as tall as you!!!!!! Whaaa!!!! Stop it, boy!!!! Can't wait to see you guys!!!!

  8. I am SO RELIEVED your opened the blog up again! I went out of town and when I came back your blog was just GONE and I had no idea what had happened or where you had gone or why it went private. I was really unhappy about that!

    Think about it this way... if there are that many negative-themed adoption blogs out there, then it is even MORE important that you have this positive example of adoption to those other moms out there who feel lost, hopeless or alone. You can't outnumber the negative adoption blogs by erasing your positive one. Then you just let them "win."

    If you go private again, PLEASE let me know so I can be added to the list!

  9. Oh, and frankly, that sounds like a horrible book. Don't check it out again. Burn it.

  10. Well....the first time I read Primal Wound I admit it really did not resonate at all. However, years later I've had my own kids, processed things a bit more, and I would now say that there really are some wounds that come with adoption. It doesn't mean adoptees can't be well-adjusted, or that pain associated with adoption somehow always outweighs our feelings for our adoptive families, but it does mean there are usually at least some moments of pain associated with it for many, many adoptees. So I guess I don't think you should discount it completely. (nor would it be healty for the difficult aspects to be a constant focus)

    I think the think is, people have a really difficult time affirming or acknowledging that being adopted is not always easy. Typical responses are just what was said above -- things like we all have pain, we all have our stuff -- and the thing is, those responses are part of what makes it hurt. It would be nice to just hear, "Yeah, that must be hard," instead of having the painful aspects so often simply discounted.

    I hope that makes sense.