Dec. 30th, 2018

joreth: (being wise)
So, I'm adopted. I was adopted as an infant. I've always known I was adopted. I met my birth mother more than a decade ago. My mom (the woman who raised me) has always been supportive of me meeting her, but without actually telling me about it, I could always see the insecurity behind her eyes.

So I've always treated this whole situation like "opening up" a monogamous relationship and my mom like an existing partner who is nervous about me hooking up with an old partner. I didn't slow down or put any artificial limits on building a relationship with my bio-mom, but I was considerate and reassuring to my mom about how much she meant to me and how appreciative I am of my upbringing.

In all of these conversations over my entire life, of my mom explaining to me that I am a child of mommy's heart, not her tummy, of my mom showing me the letter my bio-mom left for me when I turned 18, of our heartfelt conversations about whether or not I was curious about my bio-parents and would I like to find them, of mom's tentative conversations about what my bio-mom is like...

in all of these conversations, fathers were almost never present. My dad (the man who raised me) never talked to me about it, although he was occasionally physically in the room when the conversations happened. These are just "mom" kind of talks. My bio-father deliberately chose not to be located by me, which both I and the social worker responsible for finding them respected. He is actually back together with my bio-mom and still does not want direct contact with me, which I continue to respect.

My family had strong gender roles, so it's not like the fathers weren't supportive or were antagonistic or anything. It's that my dad's role wasn't to do emotional labor for the kids. And my bio-father has a long, traumatic history that I've spoken about before but I won't go into here, for which I feel comfortable not having any contact with him. It's like we're doing parallel poly and I'm OK with it.

A bunch of years ago, both mothers got on Facebook and of course I friended them both. A handful of years ago, my mom started asking me about direct contact with my bio-mom. Very tentatively, like, I could tell she was really very curious about her, but also still a little nervous, and also afraid of what contact with my bio-mom would mean to everyone else.

Mom was concerned about how I would feel about it, and also concerned about how my sister would feel. My sister is also adopted, and her bio-family story is not as happy as mine. So, to put it into poly terms, I had a "partner" (my mom) who wanted to meet my other partner, her metamour.

But she has another partner too (my sister) who tried "dating" outside of her, and it didn't go well, and this "partner" (my mom) did not have any contact with *her* other partner's partner.  So she was concerned for how getting along with one partner's other partner would feel to her other partner when she didn't get along with *that* metamour. Follow that?

See, this is why poly relationships are just not very difficult for me. It's all the same skills as any other complex social web of humans. Mom gets uncomfortable every time I say this, but I learned all my poly skills from my Christian, monoheteronormative family-of-origin.

She deeply cares about the effect she has on those around her, and that instilled in me a sense of concern and compassion for how I affect others, and how others affect others, and how we are all interconnected. If you pull on a string in a spiderweb, you tug on all the others. Some of those connections will survive, some won't. Families are webs.

Anyway, Mom started probing a possible direct connection with my bio-mom, which I enthusiastically endorsed. So she started out first by just "liking" some of her posts. When the "likes" were reciprocated, they friended each other (I think mom actually asked me first if I would mind). After a while, bio-mom started commenting on Mom's family posts about what a beautiful family my mom had. So Mom started commenting back.

I wouldn't say that they're *friends* in the more classical sense. But we do seem to have the beginnings of Kitchen Table poly happening here. They're pleasant and appreciative of each other and can speak directly to each other.

So, with all that exposition, I'm finding it hilarious and more than a bit surprising to find that my dad and my bio-mom seem to be bonding. Over what, you might ask?

My bio-mom is very outspoken about Hair Gropenfuhrer and almost all of her posts are political. Since his retirement, Dad has really gotten into leaving CNN on at the house, no matter what he's doing, so he can yell at the TV about the Orange Menace and his sycophants.

When I think about my adoption and my family web and the whole story, the women are the ones who play prominent characters. Because emotional labor is women's work, dontcha know?  But all of a sudden, every post I see on my bio-mom's feed is "liked" by my dad and often has some comment from him. Dad doesn't post much himself, or else I believe I'd see the commenting being reciprocated.

My parents (the ones who raised me) have never been particularly political. They're liberal, but they're liberal *Catholics*. They were more concerned with shielding me from whatever injustices they believed still existed in society than in smashing the injustices.

This is how I grew up to think that sexism and racism were mostly over and feminism was unnecessary, we just had a few odd holdouts here and there that needed to be dealt with, like a couple of rogue squads who refused to believe their side surrendered and were still committing acts of guerrilla warfare.

My activism has always confused and upset them. Mom never liked upsetting the apple cart or making waves or other similar cliches. My beliefs were always more liberal than theirs too, but it was never the difference in beliefs that upset them (other than the atheism thing, but that's a whole other thing), it was that I was driven to action because of them.

And here, suddenly, my bio-mom comes along who pulls no punches and is very politically outspoken (if there was ever an argument for nature over nurture, my bio-family would be it, btw), and coincidentally at the same time my senior, retired father happens to have nothing really better to do than putter about the garden and watch talking heads on TV so he develops strong political opinions seemingly out of nowhere...

and just like that, two "metamours" who didn't seem to express any interest in kitchen table poly become buddies over a shared hatred of the scourge currently destroying our nation.

If I can find any reason to have everyone meet in person, that family reunion is going to be ... interesting.

Banners