Saturday, November 25, 2006

Those (Unflattering) Birthmom Photos

At first, I couldn't exactly say what bothered me about those photos of my birthmom. Yes, she wasn't as attractive as I'd hoped. But in some of them, there was something off. Rather disturbing. The kind of pic I would have tossed straight into the trash because they were less than flattering. And I would certainly never have thought of mailing them to somebody!

So what was it?

Another birth relative had some insight. She says my birthmom was considered quite attractive when she was young. But, she says, my b.m. had a big alcohol problem and suspected the pics showed her, well, "lit."


That's exactly what it looked like. Why I found the pictures so upsetting. People who are drunk look off. Far from their best. In the pictures, she looked remote and distorted. My b.m. is very old now and probably doesn't have the best judgment. My (newly discovered) relative kindly offered to find some photos she thought better represented my b.m. and her features, seeming to realize how important this was to me.

To those of you who've read my previous post and have commented, a HUGE thank you. While there are many troubling aspects to being adopted, none have jarred me as much as seeing those damned pix! It's probably one of the most upsetting experiences I've had lately. But necessary, too. My b.m. has now been revealed as: 1) alcoholic 2) addicted to really bad men 3) the type of woman who puts partying ahead of her children (my half-sibs).

Of course, she is human and has her faults just like the rest of us do. But these are pretty big issues in my book and a clearer picture is better than a foggier one. I was probably reacting to seeing a bit of myself in someone else who was out of it.

And, of course, it highlights that my birth mother is still only 50% responsible for adding to whatever that is me.

There is my father. The man of mystery whose last name she can't remember...even though they dated for almost a year. She's probably blocked it out.


Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

I am just guessing your b.m.'s childhood is anything but idylic. It is probably frought with all kinds of childhood trauma that she tries to escape from in unhealthy ways...the addiction to alcohol, the need to be needed by anyone (I am guessing she has some serious boundary issues). From what you describe, she sounds like she has lived a pretty "hard life" and the pics display that fairly well.

You were dealt some decent genes that were nurtured into what you are today...and from where I am, you are trying to make sense of a situation that just kept (and perhaps continues) unraveling.

I know in Wisconsin when parental rights are terminated, parents are required to fill out a medical history form that stays with the adoption records. Usually, this has the medical history of both parents. I am wondering if you are able to access it and if not, perhaps your b.m. could sign a release of information for you to get it. Also, the court has a file on you which should state who the father or alleged fathers are and you may be able to access that as well. Just a thought.

7:08 AM  
Blogger MaeDay said...

Sometimes, a picture is better then a thousand words.

I can't imagine the emotions you are experiencing. Nor, can I pretend to suggest how to navigate through understanding who your nmom really is in whole.Can only wish you the very best as you sort through all the infromation.

You write an outstanding blog.(sometimes provocative reading for an nmom) Even so, it's good reading, gives me a lot to think upon.

5:29 PM  
Blogger suz said...

I would also guess to some extent you had done what many adoptees do - created some fairy tale princess or queen or super model as your first mom.

It can be crushing blow for the harsh reality to collide with fantasy.

I have another friend (20 something adoptee) coming to terms with some of the same stuff you are. Your blog has been good fodder for our conversations, so thank you for posting it.

9:25 AM  

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