The adult child who left is back...sort of...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think I should go back to calling him S. and I will.

    S. is the child that we adopted at age six from Hong Kong who decided to leave our family. Three years later, he let ex back in his life, but nobody else and I'm sure that ex is under some strict rules such as "You must never talk about me to anyone else, blah blah."

    Well, ex set up a FB account and his mug came up as a possible person for me to friend and we're on good terms so I friended him and he accepted me as a friend. To my surprise (I just hadn't thought of it), S. and his wife K. both had FB's and were ex's friend too. It was very clear by S's picture that he was in a hospital and when I clicked on his page, I got to see a picture of his older son and their brand new baby. Motherly instincts and pride kicked in, as if he had never left and I shared his picture with the baby before I had a chance to think about what that meant. I am very impulsive. I also sent a friend request to S. because that was the only way I could congratulate him and tell him, with sincerity, what a beautiful family he had.

    It was several hours later, and the glow had worn off and reality had set in. I noticed that S. had sent me a message. Rightly or wrongly, he scolded me about sharing his picture and posting a little blurb about him. I actually think it was a fair criticism, however he isn't in my life anymore and I really don't feel he has a right to tell me what to do regarding anything, including his FB pictures and whether or not I talk about him. I know he has encouraged his wife to believe that I am "dangerous" (her word) and to be afraid of me. She doesn't know me so he had to be the one to encourage it. Plus he told her that ex and I used to make him pay all the bills, even when he was a kid. That is beyond preposterous. And he has withheld the grands from me, which in my opinion is the worst punishment a child can inflict on a parent so I didn't waste time feeling TOO bad. I am sure that he was not close to deciding to let me into his life before this happened. In fact, the last time I saw him, he had a list of things I had to do in order to be allowed to see him. They were so vile that I stopped wanting to see him. Among the demands were that I could never call him unless I had a good reason, I had to state the reason, and unless I stated a reason, he would not call me back. He also would not allow me in his house. I would have had to meet him either at his church or at a restaurant in which case we would all pay for our own dinners. And he did not want any responsibility for the family in things like wills, etc.

    I drove away from there feeling better. I had lost the son I'd raised to find him this person who was cruel and mean and, strangely, strictly and rigidly religious. Guess "Honor Thy Mother and Father" doesn't mean me, so maybe he doesn't think of me as his real mom. Who knows?

    Anyway, he DID accept the friending on FB. Now he posts from time to time, but he is not posting to me. They are general posts. I do like seeing his little boy, who should be my grandson, but really isn't. He is five now and very cute, like S. S. is a handsome young man. His boy looks just like he did at that age. I'm not sure what to do when he posts. I'm tempted to "like" his picture, but then again...for what? I'm not even sure why he kept me as a friend. It isn't because he wants to restablish contact with me. It really isn't. He knows full well all he has to do is call me and he'd be welcomed back.

    A very cute video of him taking his son ice skating came up and I didn't like it. I smiled at it, but I don't want him to think I'm pining over him. I'm long past that. On the other hand, I don't want him to think I don't think his son is totally adorable either.

    Please keep in mind that he is in no way trying to let me back into his life. My ex is in touch with him and he has no intention of seeing me or his siblings. What you do with this friendship on FB? I'm not going to remove him from my friend list. That's just mean. Even if it wouldn't bother him, on the very off chance that it would, I won't do it. But...I'm not sure how to handle it.

    by the way, I find it interesting that in all of his pictures, everyone is Chinese.

    I know it's not a huge problem, but would appreciate feedback. Even one response will be food for thought. Thanks!
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Don't remove S from your friend list unless he gives you an actual reason to do so. His heart may be softening (even if he is not realizing it himself yet) and you're leaving the door open a crack. I say may instead of Is because at this point it is impossible to tell.

    S has some major issues, perhaps mental illness. I'm not thinking so much mental illness as I am some serious issues.

    I don't know how much you were told about his history prior to the adoption, or how truthful that history actually was. Their culture/society is not set up like ours. But he behaves like a person with a serious identity crisis. From the outside it appears, due to his behavior, that he seems to need to be accepted /surrounded by his culture of origin. I know many people believe that 5 yr olds don't remember much of anything, let alone at earlier ages. This ability depends on the child and circumstances. (I have quite a lot of vivid memories prior to age 3 even) I am fairly certain S remembers much of his time in China, whether he admits it or not. His behavior suggests strongly that he feels betrayed by his culture / society of origin having been adopted outside the country by people not of his race. It doesn't matter that you loved him and did your best to give him a happy childhood and opportunity to succeed. Actually, that might have made the "betrayal" worse because his own culture / society could not / did not give him those things. His drive to be successful and wealthy likely stems from having been homeless and unwanted during his time in China......coupled with the need to prove he doesn't "need" his American family.

    There are likely more issues going on, but these are the ones that jump out at me whenever you post about him. I think his behavior has very little to do with you personally at all.

    However, usually with becoming a parent......there comes an added maturity and a different way of viewing the past. (as we all know) The above way of thinking, or reaction to his circumstances, is an immature one. Reasonable to some extent, but still very immature black and white type thinking. Being a parent himself, as well as associating with other people outside of the family for a number of years might be giving him a new perspective of his past, as well as the childhood & love your family gave to him over the years. While he still may feel betrayed with a strong need to belong to his culture of origin, he may be rethinking what he believed your role in that betrayal actually was..... (child mindset, keep in mind) He just might be on the brink of realizing that he can immerse himself in his culture of origin and still appreciate and have a relationship with the family who loved and raised him. The latter can be a tough hurdle for someone who has obviously harbored deep anger and resentment toward and appointed scapegoat (you/the family). S has tried time and again to push you away. Yet, like any mother, you're never really gone. For a man that feels betrayed and abandoned by his Chinese family / culture / society, that is having a far greater impact on him than you could imagine.

    His allowing you to friend him on fb ect reveals that there is a teeny crack in his armor.

    S may not ever make that hurdle. He may find it easier to push aside dealing with his past and his child mindset of events and continue as he has. S has to deal and sort out his past and the issues it created on his own. it isn't something anyone else can do for him. To deal with his past, he must also admit to himself that his warped thinking caused him to hurt/wrong people that he actually does care a great deal for. That may prove to be the toughest part for him, one he may never be able to do. But you're giving him the opportunity to work through it and heal.....while knowing that you're still there, regardless, loving him.

    This is why I said don't unfriend him. Leave that crack open unless he does/says something to give you good reason to close it. Don't make it more than it is. Just keep right on being his mom. I know that even though you've detached from him, it hurts deep inside knowing you have to remain guarded and keep it distant. But you're still there, and that is what counts in his heart.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you. That's exactly what I needed to hear.

    He always had a strong desire to know his Chinese roots. I think ex is the only person who is in his life who isn't Chinese. He can speak Mandarin now...taught himself. He is extremely brilliant, moreso than even most smart people. He always was. He is very successful, but he obviously had some attachment issues, although he hasn't acted out. My daughter Julie, who knew him best and was very close to him once (he dumped her too), says he is just "very strange." She can't explain how he's strange.

    S. has told me he doesn't remember anything about the orphanage he lived in his first five years. He is not a liar. If he lies it is his perception. I believe him.

    I will keep the door open and "like" his children's videos. Ya never know.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had one last thought to add and it's rather sad.

    I know a lot of people who have adopted older children as well as infants, both locally and overseas. I have been in an adoptive parent group for at least twenty years so I am kind of a veteran there.

    There are VERY FEW parents who have good relationships with their older adopted children. It just is very rare. Adopted as babies, yes. Adopted as older kids, some have difficult child-type relationships where the kids get into trouble and want Dad and Mom to bail them out. Some have abusive relationships. Some have seen their kids walk, like S. did, but since most of those children are not able to support themselves either emotionally or monetarily, like S. can, and since so many are substance abusers, my situation is a little odd because S. is so successful on the surface. Still, it seems, by all I've seen, for unusual for older children adoptions to really have loving, uncomplicated relationships with their parents. In that way, S. is not unusual. For that reason, I am sorry I put my heart out there and loved this child as much as I did and still do. And I try to warn other potential adoptees to consider adopting a baby. The attachment is broken in children who are adopted at older ages.

    I am aware that there are some happy endings. It just seems that most of the time that is not the case.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    (((((hugs))))) I know this is hard because all you really want is to love him as a person and as your son. The fault and the situation have NOTHING to do with you, really. He simply is not capable of having normal relationships. This includes with his children.

    It is HARD to be in a family when you feel you didn't have one. You have to figure it out as you go and you mess up a lot. S wasn't just without a family, he was ripped from his entire WORLD at age five and plopped down in a completely different one with no skills or tools to cope with the changes. whether he remembers, admits the memories exist, or not, the trauma of all of that had to be enormous. It was NOT your fault by any means, but it was there. Being smart means you can think things through but often it means you focus on what you think and ignore/suppress what you FEEL. That bites you in the hiney because you don't ever really connect and you then place blame with no real reason for it.

    Leave the fb there but do NOT comment often. Not like or dislike or message or comment except on very special things. He will see those likes as intrusive. If there are just in the background for a while (possibly several years), they will become 'normal' and maybe he will start to reach out as he realizes that his problems were not due to you or your ex's action but really due to the situation.

    It seems to me that S has vilified you and clutched his culture of origin as a way to explain why he was not raised by his biological family. He feels incredibly rejected and abandoned by his birth parents and cannot accept or cope with it, so he has created the myth that you somehow 'stole' him from his birth family (who totally adored him and wanted and loved him and spent the rest of their lives searching for him frantically) and used all your influence to hide him from them and to make sure that this birth family was destroyed so they could not find him. Then you used him like your slave to make yoru life easier. That is what he has created to explain why he was ripped from the world he knew and dropped into your life the way he was. Of course it isn't true by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the reality that he desperately wants so he worked to create it.

    The fb friend thing is more a way to brag about how great he is and his life and son are, and to punish you by showing you what you cannot have than any real attempt at friendship right now. I would keep the door open by not unfriending him, but I would NOT pay a lot of attention to his posts. It simply will only hurt you and it won't do any good at all. Be in the background, be neutral for the most part, only post positive things to him, etc... If there is a way to keep some of your posts from showing up to him, that might be a good thing as it won't give him the ability to use whatever is going on in your lie against you. I don't use fb for much as I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would want all that info about me and what I do, or why I would be interested in much of what I see posted by others (mostly what I see from many people are their video games and their religious postings and political leanings, which are really none of my business, in my opinion). So I freely admit I don't totally understand what you can and cannot do with facebook as far as limiting the access friends have to your info. but if there is a way to keep him as a friend but at arm's length, I would do that.

    If you are going to post anything that is not superficial and very bland about your life, I would unfriend him because sooner or later it WILL be used against you. But that is my very pessimistic opinion of FB and likely not reality.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sus, as usual, you have amazing insight. You are right, of course, and did not really contradict Hound Dog. He was always VERY logical thinking without emotion getting in his way. Although he did not exhibit the usual attachment problem behaviors, he did not show much emotion.

    S. could not attach to a family, however he did attach to friends because he had grown up with his little peers as his main support system. Once we had a talk about whether or not he was attached to us. He was bright enough that you could talk to him about that and he'd "get it." He was well into his teens by then, possibly over eighteen. He said, "I don't know how I feel. It's like I can't feel normal to you and Dad." When I asked about his friends he perked up and said, "I can feel close to my friends."I can't remember why the subject came up. A few years after that, before he met his now wife, he was trying hard to make an effort to bond. He would hug his father, me and his sister and say nice things although never "I love you." Then there were problems during the wedding, but NOTHING that serious. Still, that was when he disappeared. His vague reasons were things like "You gossipped about us before the wedding." That's the one I remember clearly. He could not explain what he meant. From what I gather, the family talking about his wedding was something he couldn't accept...but don't all families talk about upcoming family events? I believe his wife was more upset about it than him...but did her family never discuss the upcoming wedding? I don't know. Nobody has ever gotten a clear answer regarding his actions.

    I do think he bonded really well, if not intensely, to his wife, which is a good thing for him. I do not know how he will react with his sons if they do not grow up to be the way he wants them to be. He is very rigid, and if one or both rebel against his strict religious beliefs...I don't know if he will do well with it or not. He is absolutely 100% positive, as is his wife, that his beliefs are the only right way to think. There is no room in his world for dissension.

    Susie, I agree that he is there mainly to brag or flaunt and that not reacting much is the best way for me to behave. So I take back my idea of "liking" his posts. He is waving a carrot in front of me...his child and soon both children...knowing full well that he won't let me see them and knowing how much I would like to be their grandmother.

    I am mostly on FB for dog rescues and have many of them as my friends. There are a few old friends I keep up with too.

    I am not going to unfriend him just because I may post something he doesn't like. I will not reject him the same as he has rejected me. But if he uses a post against me or what? He has already used fake things against me. It doesn't matter anymore.

    In the meantime, I can see that he is well and thriving in his life and can at least get sometime photos of his children. That is until he unfriends Heck, it could have already happened. As I said, he is rigid in his thinking a nd will not deviate from the beliefs of his specific church. I am very pro-gay rights and express that on FB at times and liked a comment about Utah's gay marriage law today. That may be enough for him to leave (shrug). Funnily, I just thought about that right now, just before I typed it.

    I appreciate the responses A LOT. This is a very touchy issue for me. I don't think a lot of people get this at all or why he would do this. But you and HD get it and I'm grateful.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It seems to me that weddings bring out the irrational and unstable in people. It is sad that he couldn't even tolerate having people enjoy sharing the joy of his upcoming wedding in conversation. Seems like a totally difficult child demand to me. But people are strange and it was his excuse. He would have found something else.

    PLEASE don't get badly hurt when he unfriends you. If he doesn't, in my opinion it may be because he is looking for reasons to keep you out of his life. It seems to be a big part of what some people use fb for, though it mystifies me.

    He is a sad, rigid fearful person, and while I hope he has happiness and peace in his life, I strongly doubt it. When you are that rigid with the rules and what people around you are allowed to do, generally it is because you are very afraid of hat they might do or think if you don't control him. In time he will have teens and hopefully he loosens up before then or else he will have a very difficult time. Don't allow his fearful behavior and rigid rules to have a significant impact on your life or emotions. There is nothing at all to be gained by that.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Susie went into greater depth, and I agree with her.

    I'm relieved you realize the motivation behind his accepting your fb friendship based on his past behavior. It will enable you to keep it in perspective and protect yourself.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Lisa. I am aware that it is not your usual reason to "friend" I think this need for total control is a part of attachment issues. I have gone to some really top notch psychologists over this issue. One is an expert in adopted children and only sees adopted children and their families, as they have unique problems and most psychologists really are not that aware of how this can impact a child. In his case, he was not adopted until age six, which is after a young child has developed. His lack of ability to forgive transgressions that others are so willing to take responsibility for is astounding to me, but, then, his background makes him a totally black and white thinker. There is no middle ground. God knows, we had a few arguments during the wedding time, but it was not the sort of stuff that causes total breaks in relationships.

    I hope his boys turn out the way he wants. God help either if he is gay. And what if one rejects his beliefs? S. can be very kind and caring until you do something he doesn't like. It has been over six years now and he is still punishing me and I sort of know why, but not really. And, yes, if it hadn't been one thing it would have been another.

    Frankly, for all that he believes through his church teachings that the man is the head of the house and the woman must submit or follow, his wife runs the show.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Dear MM,

    I am having a tough week and that probably colors my answer a lot. I think that him accepting your friend request is a crack in your estrangement. I too would be very careful and I would lay low and not comment or like often and definitely would not share.

    I don't think it's coincidental that his older son about the same age S was when you adopted him. It may be a watershed moment for S. I remember when my first child was 4-6, and how it brought back vivid memories of my own self at that age. Even though I have memories of being a toddler, they are more vague yet I can remember (when prompted) kindergarten, 1st grade and beyond like it was yesterday- see the classroom, my friends, my own bedroom etc. Perhaps, S is remembering becoming a part of your family and realizing you loved him and has happy memories. Maybe he is a bit perplexed by his own 5 year old and realizes that parenting isn't an exact science. I also don't think it is odd that he never let himself bond with you or his dad. Hurtful and unfortunate, yes, but maybe understandable. Bonding with you would mean accepting that his bio parents and even his bio culture had rejected him. IIRC he is Asian, and that culture (among others) is usually male offspring centric. It may be that his wife's family perpetuates that which could bewilder him even more and feed his ego at the same time - leaving you stuck in the role of scapegoat.

    So, I might be grateful for this tiny crack. I don't think it's a bad thing even if it's temporary and he unfriends you later. I would enjoy the pics and knowing that he is OK and let in unfold (or not) in its own time.

    Hugs to you
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Sig. He could be having a soft moment. I don't know. I'm enjoying the pictures, but am in no way thinking that they will lead to my being able to be a grandmother to the boys. His wife is afraid of me. Yes, afraid. People who know me in real life laugh when I say that, including my other kids, because, if anything, I'm a doormat who is totally non-violent. I'm not sure what she is afraid of. I did send some letters to S. when this first happened. I was grieving the loss of him and some letters pleaded with him to forgive me (although I wasn't sure exactly what I'd done...I would have admitted to anything) and then I'd get angry and more hurt when he didn't respond and I'd write a meaner letter, although no threats were ever attached to the letters. To S., that means I am "crazy." Well, maybe I claim guilty to My other kids just roll their eyes and say he's being "a jerk" and "stupid." I have brought up to him that his sister Julie, who he had been SO CLOSE to, and his other siblings had never written him even one letter and he won't speak to them either, but he never has any answers.

    At any rate, S's wife doesn't know me at all. The only way she could be afraid of me is if S. encouraged her feelings and validated them or said something untrue or something that HE thinks was true but wasn't true.

    My brain gets tired thinking about this. I'm going to enjoy the pictures, but will not put too much stock in them and am not even sure I want him back in my life anymore. After all that has gone on, how could I look him in the face and not worry that everything I said would be seen as something it's not? I don't think I would risk my heart again at his point in time. Life is pretty good and I don't want to do this again. Call me a coward...I just can't.