My last blog post was end of May – over three months ago. There have been so many situations since then
I’ve wanted to blog about. But as a
full-time student working a full-time job, blogging time is very limited (to
non-existent). Perhaps it would be faster
to record an audio file than it would be to type, which would allow me to share
more of what is swirling around in my brain.
The post in May was about my son’s high school graduation.
It seems that the well is dry so often these days. I was really hurting and originally posted
because I was hoping for encouragement.
Instead I was caught off guard by the responses I got on FB.
Now, let me make it clear that I am not upset with anyone
who commented to that post. I am just
taking that discussion and blogging it, because I feel the subject of
boundaries that surfaced is very important.
I have read MANY discussions about adoptive parents “setting boundaries”
against the original parent(s). But don’t
recall boundaries being discussed between original mothers relating to our
children when they are older.
Healthy boundaries are different for every one of us,
whether we are original parents, adoptees, or adoptive parents. We all need to figure out our own healthy
boundary lines – even with relationships having nothing to do with adoption. Sometimes we move or change those boundaries
as we grow personally.
So, back to the graduation thread …
Several responses had to do with the idea that I should
“just go to his graduation.” I tried to
explain that around here, you don’t “just go” to a graduation. Seating is limited and they give out tickets
in advance. You do not get in the door
without a ticket. Apparently not all
High School Graduation ceremonies are like this across the country, but here it
is not open to the public.
*Even with this information one response was that I could go
to the graduation anyway and just sit out in the parking lot in my car.
I know the woman who suggested this is hurting very much and
gets very little information about her young son, and that makes me sad for
her. At the same time the suggestion was
out of the question for me. My own
boundary is that I will not do anything to cause me to hide and duck from
police/security. Where is the honor in
Think too for a few moments about the violence we’ve seen
this past year on school grounds. I
imagine any one responsible for security would be more vigilant than ever to
look for anything “out of place.”
Imagine, had I gone, and was asked or leave or arrested, imagine
if my son witnessed that? He would be
mortified! Imagine if one of his
classmates saw it – my son would be embarrassed. Imagine if it would have ended up in the
local paper! None of those situations
would bring about positive results.
*Another was asking that if I did go and sit out in the
parking lot, wouldn’t it make me feel good just knowing he was in that building?
Quite frankly, no, it would not. If anything, it would have
made me feel WORSE – knowing that he was in there and I was not invited, but
That was his big
day. I did not want to do anything to
take the spotlight off him. Knowing full
well that his adoptive family is there, I did not want to do anything to put
him in an awkward situation. Even if
deep inside he would have wanted to invite me, it would have likely caused too
much turmoil for him.
The reality is that I am second fiddle right now, and
sitting in a parking lot would have only been a stark reminder of how
incredibly true this is.
*Another push-back I
got was asking how showing up at his graduation would be different from going
to any of his sporting events over the past two years.
Regular readers here know that we (my husband/his father and
I) have gone to see our son at a few track/cross country events. We went to the larger events that would have
a larger crowd and each one was a public event.
There have been some events I found out about, such as one that was not
sports related. But I did not know if it
was open to the public, therefore I did not go.
To me there is a very clear distinction between public and
private space. This is actually my first
test to determine if something is within a healthy boundary or not. I believe it is crucial to respect his
private space. He is not a seven year
old boy, and I need to allow him to have privacy and I must respect his private
space. His adoptive parents do not “own” him and
neither do I.
*One last comment I want to mention was the input “But he
has not told you to stay away.”
My thought on this is – Exactly! Nor do I want to provoke him to the point
that he would have to tell me to stay away.
I feel that I must weigh all of my actions carefully to avoid this kind
of negative confrontation.
If I were to continue acting with the frame of mind “he
didn’t tell me no” – and I do that over and over again. If it finally gets to a point that he would
actually tell me no, then I have already crossed one of his boundaries and it
would then be much harder trying to repair the damage.
I hope that restraint will be worth something someday. I have known his last name for almost three
years. In that time I have not been to
his high school, his hometown, or driven by his home.
All opportunities to watch at public events are over now as he
went off to college last month – eight hours away in another state. That will be his territory. We won’t be
able to watch, unless he opens the door and invites us into his space.
So those are my self-imposed boundaries. I am not ashamed of any actions I have or
have not taken. I also think these
boundaries keep us from falling into a stalker category.
Open for discussion, ideas, or thoughts. . . How did you
approach finding healthy boundaries with your adult adopted son or daughter?