a beautiful baby girl named Madison. She was born on a Spring day in Portland, Oregon to a woman named Angela. Marc and I were right there as Madison made her first appearance in this world. She was so fresh from God and the angels. Her beautiful black, curly hair, her perfect mocha-colored skin, her incredibly loud, demanding voice. Yes, from her first breath, Madison made it clear to the world she was a force to be reckoned with.
We feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have been given the privilege to parent this soul. Without her birth parents, Angela and Darryl, we would never have heard the sweet words fall from Madison's lips calling us mom and dad. We also count our blessings that Angela and Darryl have remained an integral part of our lives. The beauty of open adoptions is evidenced in our ability to raise a healthy, happy daughter who knows her genetic roots and is able to see the reflection of her face and personality in her birthmother's eyes. All is well and wonderful in our adoption story with Madison; a fact we revel in.
We have also been fortunate enough to meet extended family members suchas grandparents, aunts and uncles. We have been able to vacation with Darryl's family including his mom and step-dad and they have visited us here in North Dakota and stayed with us for a week or so. And this is where my story and quandry begins.
When her paternal grandparents visited us in North Dakota in 2007 all went well until Madison had a melt-down. She yelled at us, stomped up and down the stairs, slammed her bedroom door and was, in general, a snotty 'tween. It was a difficult time at our home since my mother was in Oregon, dying of Alzheimers and had just entered Hospice care. But even taking that into account, Madison was just being Madison. She has been strong-willed since her first breath, head-strong, determined and too bright for her own good. R and E, her visiting grandparents had been annoyed by the fact that Madison and Thomas had friends over all the time and I allowed them to go in and out of the house all day. I also allowed them to have ice pops at their desire and this seemed to annoy R and E also. Another annoyance seemed to be that Marc and I were in the process of adopting Richnigthder and Jerome. R seemed concerned about this and questioned us and our reasons for doing so. She also questioned Madison on a long trail ride about her thoughts, concerns, fears of having new brothers. Ok, I let this go as I didn't see it as anything of great bother and it certainly wasn't great enough to rock the boat. We were just happy to have a relationship with Madison's birth grand mother and step grand father.
One night as I washing dishes, R and E came to the kitchen counter and asked if they could talk to me about something. Sure, what the hell; my life is an open book. WHAM! What came out of R's mouth actually made me feel light-headed. I don't know if I felt that way due to anger or saddness. What she said was that she needed to talk to me about something and she wanted to know if Madison was mentally ill. Yep, you heard me correctly, she said she thought Madison was mentally ill! Her basis for this thinking was Madison's rude behavior to Marc and me, her obstinance when asked to do a chore and her apparant feeling of empowerment to have ice pops without asking. I too politely explained to her that Madison has been of this temperment since birth and I acknowledged that she indeed can get mouthy at home with us, but has NEVER, EVER been disrespectful to an adult outside of this home. She is giving of her time, generous of nature and kind to others. I also expressed that I thought she was very well-behaved and polite for the most part and I saw no mental illness. Quite honestly I felt so hurt, I wanted to burst into tears and run to my room like a baby. How can Madison's flesh-and-blood grandmother think such awful things about her grandchild, let alone utter them outloud to me.
I admit my mistake in this was not sharing my true feelings with R and E that very moment. I tried to be polite and act as though nothing had occurred, but it was palpable. The tension in the house grew from then on until their departure. Since then, I have not spoken to R. I miss her, but realize that if those are her beliefs about my child, I guess there is no way to change her mind. I also know that thru the grapevine, she is aware of her offending comment to me, and has never called, written or emailed to discuss/apologize for offending us and Madison in such a painful way.
Now fast forward to this morning when an envelope arrived from R and E addressed to the Laurie Family. What has taken us by suprise is that there was an envelope inside addressed plainly to 'the grandkids' and contained 2 gift cards for $50 each. The financial amount is generous, but what I find disagreeable is that it neither acknowledges the FOUR kids by name, nor acknowledges that there are in fact now FOUR grandchildren as compared to the 'original' two. Thomas is not their biological grandson, but fortunately, they had always treated him as though he were. Now it seems as though they are failing to acknowledge the little boys. Am I being thin-skinned about this? I had always felt lucky that Madison's birth family was so involved, but their slights, rude, hurtful comments have obviously led us to this uncomfortable place.
Richnightder and Jerome don't understand that the two gift cards excluded them, and Madison and Thomas have agreed that the only correct thing is to use the money to buy something for all 4 of them. Wow, for a girl that is 'mentally ill' she sure seems to understand the difference between right and wrong.
So that's my little bitchy Christmas story. I suppose it's not really bitchy, but more painful than anything. I tend to keep slights and insults to myself, at least for a good long time, but I had expected that R would contact me in some fashion to apologize or discuss the fact that she over-stepped her boundaries in my home, regarding MY daughter. I operate on the system that if I believe I have even possibly offended someone, I contact them to offer my apologies and my sincerest hope of extracting my foot from my mouth.
My kids are my everything. They might be a pain in the butt, but those little butt's are all mine. All of my kids have strengths and weaknesses just like every other human being. I am accutely aware of their qualities and when someone comes at me from any point of view that doesn't aim to make their lives better, you better watch out. Hmmmm, I guess when it comes to standing up to R, I took the easy way out; the path of peace on to be shown that that was probably not in our family's best interest. Today I hurt for my daughter and the relationship with R that seems lost, and the knowledge that they are losing out on 4 great kids.
Oh, and Angela, Madison would like to stay with you for a week or so in June when we are in Seattle for her confirmation trip. I just thought you might like to make some waterpark plans for a hot day and see what trouble you two girls can get into!!! HAHAHAHA...P.s. I'll send lots of Solarcaine! Love you oodles, Angela!