This week Billy was contacted by his birth father via Facebook message. They were Facebook friends for a while, though they never actually talked, until the man signed his comments with DAD one too many times and Billy, who says he only has one daddy, deleted him from his page.
Billy showed me the message. When I asked what would be his response, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Nothing. I don’t have anything to say.”
And I wonder if that’s wise.
Nothing to say? Surely there must be something. Answers wanted, questions lingering, unspoken anger hidden far beneath the surface where that neglected and abused kid remains hidden as he emerges into a man.
Robin says she has plenty to say. She says if he ever contacts her, she’ll tell him where to go. She seethes with hatred for a man she barely remembers. It does no good, I told her just today, to be angry. It serves no purpose. But she says she can’t help it. Just knowing he sent Billy a message made her heart beat faster and her fists curl at her sides.
“I dare him to try to talk to me,” she says. “I’ll tear him up.”
And I believe her.
I’m to blame, you know. I, the evil adoptive parent who spends all her spare time bashing their loving biological parents. Or that’s how it would be told by the other side. The reality is, my kids who have appropriate bio families, have contact with those bio families. I’ve never stopped it. I’ve never wanted to. How wonderful for my kids to feel loved from all sides! But it’s those who are not appropriate who blame me for their life choices.
I’ve been the target of blame for many a year, by many a bio-parent, as they’ve pointed their guilt and anger at me, the one who ‘stole’ their children. Interesting, I’ve always thought, how I can be accused of ‘stealing’ a child who was being bounced around the system for years before I even came into the picture.
They’ve made their beds, these wayward parents, and yet they somehow swear up and down somebody else tucked in the sheets. Take responsibility for their actions? Not gonna happen…
Today he messaged Billy again, this time in all CAPS, saying something to the effect of, “If you don’t want to talk to me just tell me!”
“Really?” Billy says. “He’s angry at ME for not answering him?!?! If he’d ever made an effort….if he’d ever apologized…if he’d ever even acted like he’d done anything wrong, I could talk to him. But he only makes excuses…blames other people…oh, someone spiked my Koolaid… bullshit. One of my few memories of him was him yanking my mom off the couch…was that an accident too? When he went to jail for those years for beating the crap out of her…someone set him up? Did his arm slip? And what, he meant to throw those drugs in the garbage, but they bounced off the trash can and into his needle? It’s not his fault…what a load of crap.”
“So what are you going to do?” I ask.
“Not say a word. If I got started, they’d have to delete all of Facebook because of all the bad words I used. And then everyone would be mad at me…so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.” He laughs, because laughing it off is easier.
“Oh, I’ll answer him…” says Robin, eyes narrowed.
Oh, the difference in the two reactions…Robin, who barely remembers the abuse, raring to go, ready to take the first punch. And Billy, afraid to get started…for fear of where it will go.
Billy was about eleven years old when he said, “It’s like there’s a wall inside my brain. And sometimes the wall gets little holes in it and I can see through. There are words on the other side that tell it all, but they’re all scrambled up and I can’t read them. Sometimes the letters change around and I see things. I see the divorce fight. I see those people that did the bad stuff. And then the holes close.” (read My Lost Boy)
Maybe Billy’s brain isn’t quite ready for those holes to open for good. Maybe he’s afraid if he gets too close to the edge, he’ll fall inside and never climb back out of that pit in which he floundered for so many years. Maybe, saying nothing at all is the best answer…for Billy. And nothing else really matters.