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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Trouble with Sharing Things

To be cross-posted at Declassified Adoptee on 8/26/2011

I was at the gym the other day doing some horrendous exercise, reminiscing on the days when I was fit and athletic.  I started thinking about my basketball days and other memories from high school.  I loved basketball and was a good player.  An unavoidable part of thinking back on my sports days is remembering a coach I didn't really get along with.  I liked her at first.  She was friendly, hip, and pretty.  But she was too friendly with the boy's head basketball coach, who also became our assistant coach.  He was also a deacon at my church and the father of a boy I had been good friends with since we were toddlers.  I don't know exactly what happened or if the male coach was confronted by my church leaders or not but he ended up leaving our church, taking my long-time, childhood friend, his son, with him.  I was devastated.  I don't know if they were actually having an affair or not but their public flirtatiousness in front of students and athletes, and me, made me uncomfortable and in true Amanda fashion, I voiced my discomfort.  Of course, they didn't like this.  I was one of the star athletes of the team but one of the least favorites (though it would seem).  I was captain of my team for two years, the All-Star team captain, I was All-Star, All-Conference First String, and we had just won an All-Star game where I had scored triple-doubles.  The coaches congratulated everyone but me.  My father, aware of what was going on, stepped in and said "uh coach, you forgot someone," before she finally gave me a high-five.  By the time I graduated high school, I was so sick of basketball that I turned down a full-ride scholarship to a good school with a good basketball program.  I shouldn't have let the behavior of my coaches and the drama effect me so much, but it did.

You would think that the last place that I would accept relationship advice from would be my basketball coach.  But I always, always remember something she told me.   I still think of it to this day.
"Sometimes we have to work out things with the person we have a problem with before we tell anyone else.  What happens when you go vent to someone else about the person you're mad at, is they get mad at that person too.  When you and the person you're mad at make up, you feel better, but the person you vented to hasn't had that closure of being able to make up with the other person as well.  That might cause relationship problems between the person you were mad at and the person you vented to."
She was trying to get team mates who were also school friends to foster better relationships between themselves, to strengthen the team.  I thought that the coaches, who were both married to other people, not hanging all over each other in front of 14-17 year olds would have been a great start towards building teams spirit--eh, but what do I know?  I wondered how a woman so oblivious to the impact her own behavior in her own relationships had on others, could dish out such good advice about other people's relationships.

Her words came back to me a few years later as an adult when I started to think about relationships and support.  If I vented to my mom or a friend about someone or something else, they would get all upset on my behalf.  I would later work it all out and feel better but how much better did they feel?  They didn't get to work out their emotions about the situation in the same way I did.  I decided to be more careful about what I share when I am angry or upset--or how I share it, rather.  Not because seeking support and confiding in others isn't important but because while I expect them to care about my emotional welfare, I should care about theirs too.

This is when it gets rough when it comes to adoption reunion and integrating two families into my life.  My adoptive parents are Facebook friends with my first mom and several of my aunts.  They send cards back and forth for holidays and occasionally email each other.  It is important to me that they have good relationships because I would never want to be in the middle of a disagreement.  Too often do adoptees feel in the middle of choosing between their nurturing family and their natural family and I don't want to go there.  But I lose an important source of support.  I can tell my adoptive mother lots of things and normally do.  But I am hesitant to share anything with her that is challenging about reunion because I do not want her to harbor negative emotions against my first family.  Likewise, I can tell my first mom loads of things.  But I am hesitant to tell her things about my childhood that might have been hard or times where I am upset with my adoptive parents, because I don't want her to harbor negative feelings against my adoptive family.

This is why I have found it so helpful to find the support of other people who are adopted, also being mindful of their emotions as well.  I think it is important to have positive relationships where you can support each other and be mindful of each other's emotional needs and boundaries when supporting one another.  I am glad that I have that with my friends.

Does anyone else have trouble sharing things with either one of their mothers?  or both?

Photo credit: Simon Howden

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    My Name Is Theodora Sullivan/Kalogiannis.I am 30 years old and live in Rural SA.
    I have written many Of These emails and will try to explain what has happened to the Best of My Abilty and with an Afridavid if you wish.

    I was Born July 1981 in Athens,My Birth Certificate as You see is Old and a Copy.It has Three pages.My Citizen ship was Also Done in Greece.
    I have been Involved with a Company called Seasyp who is red Flagged and I did not know untill now,from People in The proffesions of Adoptions,and I cut all Contact,due to the Insuffuciant quality of customer service and The dismay of Being ridaculed for not paying money.(scammers)

    The day I was Born My birth Mother was Told By The Doctor That Sold me that I died a few Minutes after Birth.
    From There he Sold me too My adoptive Parents for 6000 Dracmes.

    I have spoken with foregn Affairs and they Brushed me off with no sign of help or even suggesting were i can go,The same with Immigrations.
    I have called The greek Consulates,both here and Over there,i have called Both Embassys,ive tryed to MAke an Appointment with PARLAMENT,I Have Braodcasted My Voice In America on Radio Staion Ellinikos FM (Greek),and sent Many many Emails to People that could Possibly help,and They Declined.

    I was Going to DOB Line to dob myself in as an Illegal Immigrant, that its become so desprate for me too get Answers.

    I have Not only made a You tube Video but have called upon 40-50 People inclduing lawyers,Journalists radion Stations and Facebook Under Greek Born Adoptees,with my Group Being other Greek Born adoptees Searching fo their parents.Ive spent Hours on the Internet and reaserching all about the illegal adoption rings and Informing of what ever new Inforamtion i Find.

    And I Have Broadcasted On facebook For someone To help Me pay For airfares For me too Leave my family here and Go search with The Correct Representatives Over there,and try to Find Answers.

    I have Been Treated her in Australia terribly and I have the Right If Im Correct to Sue the Australian Embassy in Greece and Also The Greek Government for everything They have caused to not only me,but my sister who also was sold and the same news to her Birth family,who I may Have found.
    If You Can Look at my case and Please Help Me get some help here In Australia.I will be Putting letters On car windscreens In The rural Areas Of SA and doing anything i can too get Listened too and Noticed so the word Gets spread.I Need More greek Born adoptees Australia Wide too come Forward,Beacuse theres mothers seaching over there,and we need to Fight this all together.


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