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Not So Simple Math | With Sarah Paulson

2016-01-28 | 🔗

Sarah Paulson narrates this week's episode -- a story about a woman's decision to put up her child for an open adoption.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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space, the easiest way to create a website for you and your ideas with twenty four hour customer support. You can start today you get a free trial, but don't forget to enter offer code, modern love to get ten percent off on your first purchase. You should squarespace Oh, the from the New York Times and WB where Boston. This is modern, love the stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host magnet Chakrabarti, the there's one thing that just about every parent, I've ever known has said, and I'm including myself here one. same thing,
at some point in time, even while we're in the middle of complaining about our kids, someone always stops and says, but I just I cannot imagine my life without them. Sometimes, though, that's exactly what happened. sometimes because a parent makes a choice. Breezy easy and always complicated. Amy seek shares in her brief, modern love, essay, open adoption not so simple, math read by actor. Sarah Paulson. I wanted my son to become the kind of person who appreciates the beauty of the world around him. So I smiled when its six. He asked to borrow my camera in case. He saw something beautiful
we're taking a walk in the Woods outside Boston and following behind him, I was surprised by how much he moved like his father. That afternoon, showing each other icicles and hollow trees. Breaking I was in patterns in the river ice, inching too close to the water to get a better view of the bridge above We arrived home Ben, that the reason he wanted to go for a walk was to spend time with me. It had been through months, since I last saw him smiled, sheepishly and stepped into the living room. Where the woman who had adopted him six years earlier, sat reading the newspaper ooh ooh. spent the evening chatting with her, while avoiding direct interaction with Ben for fear. I'd show too much affection or too little
open. Adoption is an awkward choreography. I am offered a place at the table But I am not sure where to sit. I don't know how to be any kind of mother, much less one who surrendered her child, but his back to help build a Lego castle. It is a far cry from the moment he was born. When my twenty three years, body seemed to know exactly what to do when I suddenly and surprisingly wanted nothing more than to admire him nursing at my breast when asked a drug, less labour? My surging hormones help me to forget that I was a college student then I lived in Cincinnati that I was passionate about architecture during those days I was roused by the slightest sound of his lip smacking in a New newborn desire that offered my deepest fulfillment,
months before I gave birth when my boyfriend and I were just getting to know the couple we had chosen- I was well to comprehend the coming exchange only on the most theoretical of levels, but it seemed like gentle math girl with child. She can't keep. plus woman who wants but can't have child balance. question and both parties become whole again during the months. My son's mother Holly observed birth mothers have to accomplish in one day the monumental task of letting go that most parents have eighteen years to figure out day. After his birth. When I struggled with letting go, Holly sat with me and cried. For the children she never got to have for the fact that it does She would bring her joy while causing me pain I fear she had already grown to love a child. I might not give her.
I decided to let her take him for a night to see if I could handle it she come to Dayton, Ohio where she was staying with family and then called and asked Do you want him back I'll bring him right now. Meanwhile, the men in our lives stood by and hope for the best. My boyfriend supported the adoption and though we had broken up, he was there to help me through my pregnancy. we had men architecture school, never suspecting that. Two years later, we would be forever joined his birth parents, composing, one hundred and eleven questions to ask strangers about the most intimate details of their lives. We list of qualities. We wanted in a couple basically ourselves ten years older, but when we the couple we would choose. Our list fell by the wayside replaced an overwhelming intuition that we could trust them. I signed the papers on a hot August day in two thousand
Sitting at a large conference table with my sister, my son's adoptive parents and agents from catholic Social Services- It's sat there several times before, but hadn't yet been able to say words to relinquish all rights to my son. every time I was left alone to think and hours later was sent home with him. Oh my ex was not there Chris had made me a different person and we couldn't pretend that our losses would be the same. Mr had come from China where she was teaching she promised I kept him, she would move home and help her face. It was glazed in tears, but she said intently at me as I prepared to sign the papers as if Sure herself, I knew what I was doing
My pen I stood at the intersection of two vastly different futures and I struggled to see into the distance of each did not seem that a gesture as small as scribbling my name had the power to set me down one path, while turning the it's entire landscape to dust it was such a small gesture, but it was the first sketch of my life without a son. One of the exercises I was given in adoption. Counseling was to envision the hours immediately after the adoption. What would I do after signing the papers pick up the tab pools that have been tossed in the corner. When my water broke pack up the extra blankets given by the hospital workers who touch my shoulder prayed aloud that I would find the courage to keep my son. spend my entire life without a child,
but I was newly born that night too, and my old self disappeared. I could no longer imagine how a mother could give up a child and live. Adoption was not simple, math A new mother cannot know the value of the thing she subtracts, only through time, When my son turned four, Twenty seven, when he turned six and I was twenty nine when turns ten this year and I am thirty three and ready for children, that I begin to understand the magnitude of what I lost and that it is growing. The comfort is seeing my son with his family, whom I can no longer imagine him or myself without he is. Earnest child who seems to kick hard to keep his ten above water in the world, but his mother has a certain lack of sympathy that is good for him when he to retreat into his own head, she pulls him back into the refuge of his family and makes him smile. I am
ever astounded that I was able to see in her something that would still feel so right. So many years later, the greatest proof of her commitment to openness. Is that she talks about me when I'm not there, When my son was a baby, I was surprised that he always remembered me even after long stretches when I couldn't visit. When he was seven and we were playing a computer game. He told me his password was Cincinnati because his mother had told him he was born there. I know that Holly represents me to my son in my absence and always encourages him to love me Holly, jokes, that with open adoption, at least you know what the birth mother is doing, that she's bi, it's school and not conceiving a plot to steal her child back. It's not so with closed adoptions. The birth mother is powerfully absent. But an open process forces an adoptive parent to confront the pain that adoption is built on and
When this for Holly does not mean merely letting the birth mother know about her child, it mean cultivating a real love between birth parents and child. This requires exceptional commitment. which may be why some open adoptions become closed. In the end, I love Holly for sharing such things with me, sent him it's the show she's devoted to our relationship and not because it is easy for her, and I have told her that pivotal point in my grief was the moment I was able to say allow that I wanted my son back though I knew it was impossible. When I realized that his adoption had been both my greatest accomplishment and deepest regret, the and we continually redefine this relationship. I hide exchanges like the time Four and crawled into my arms and said Amy pretend You baby
I made sure no one was looking before I indulged his request. entire body shuddering at the to hold him so close for the first time since birth, suspect Kali knows about these moments and when I it she tries to help by sending me off with my son for walks in the woods. We can freely explore my place in his life when returns home to New York. After my visit, I looked at the pictures been taken with my camera commence of arms and legs blurry close ups of leave, caught in ice too many in forest skies, evidence Me that, although he has his father's distinctive gait shares. My need to grasp and hold onto beautiful things to document Somehow preserve them forever things he can't possibly keep
The Sarah Paulson reading Amy seeks modern love, piece, open adoption, so simple math I. the If you're hiring you know can, like looking for a needle in a haystack. You just hope the right candidate comes along. But not when you use it for cruder zipper. Critters technology finds qualified candidates, for you then actively invites them to apply. In fact, four out of five employers who post That brings me to get a qualified candidates within the first day. Try it free today at zero, cruder, dot com, slash and my tea that super cruder, dot, com, slash and wide tee
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I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes, when I open up spelling bee- and I see- but you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first time together- and I was it out- I think I got it- see it J, a c k, P, o t jack. We hit the jackpot, panicked, yeah, Elrond nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital pulses editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times dot com, slash games.
I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first time together and I wish her out- I think I got it see it J, a c k, p o g jack, but we hit the jackpot panicked, yeah, Elrond, nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital pulses editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times dot, com, slash games.
Giving a person really changed, Amy in ways that she still coming to terms with and waved. It really surprised me will hear how after a short break. Oh. I'm Katy at living proof and we get love letters all the time like this one, dear living proof. I have thick curly hair that could. And four as a I ve spent years, trying tons of hair products and I finally found living proof. After just two weeks, my hair feels fabulous. I'm back baby love PAM! You can use the code love
a free travel size. Dry shampoo, with your twenty dollar order, living proof, dot, com, we're back its modern, the podcast, I'm Meghna Chakrabarti and you just third Amy seeks essay about the tender calculus of an open adoption, a calculus that never quite ends. and Amy seek joins us now, thanks for being here thanks so much for having me well with me in the studio, is Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, hi Dan? I so Amy your piece really really really struck me. It is so honest and, and so raw, but one it ran in in modern love. Did it have an effect on your relationship with your sons adopted family only in the best way is. I have to say, I think that, where on
sides battling very primal emotions and we keep them in check, and we both know that that, ultimately, we are friends and we won't let those things interfere with the greater good of our relationship with each other and my son, so What's your relationship like with your son today, while he's a edger. So it's changing fast, he's fifteen and he's becoming more interested in his own friends and his own world, and I feel that pain of parenthood that his trajectory is absolutely not going towards me as much as I feel like. The older you in a more charming and beautiful, he becomes the more I want to just have him close but surprises me when I visit him. I just recently visited him with. He was doing a running meet with some friends and I kept saying you should go and be with your friends and he continually said I get to see them all
I am so he's continually affirming his desire for closeness as well damn, there's so much to the story that the Amy rose, wondering what you found particularly compelling about it well coming from a landscape architect, which is how she described herself in her cover noon and not a writer. I was just dumb sort of entranced by the writing and how penetrating it was. You know so often talk about people when the young, whether their teens at the early twenties as making impulsive decisions based on emotion, but it was a rational decision and this is what will be best for everybody, but then, as the years pass, you know she said it gains the wisdom of experience and of pain inserted coming into that knowledge, which is to remove
the cabal emotional experience turret to read, and I think it stirs up a lot of emotion. That definitely does what kind of response did you get Amy after the the piece first ran. Did you hear from people who'd read your story yeah. It's always interesting to speak as a birth mother, because so many adoptees adult adoptees have contacted me through through the modern love piece as well as other occasions. I've spoken on adoption panels and things, and I hear from them that they're surprised to know that their birth mother thinks of them, and I and I am surprised that anyone could think otherwise. This is it's not a daily thought. In a tragic way, but he is he's a daily he's, a fact of my life and I can't fathom forgetting yeah, I'm just wrapping my head around what you just said that for the child- maybe it's that they think will you I was given
stop for. I was given. I was put into this other family so and of course my birth mother doesn't think of me and I kind of think it's speaks to the asymmetry of the relationship between a parent and a child. In any case, it's like the child should always have the luxury of just being loved and not even having to think of it. But in this case, where I'm not there, he doesn't have automatic comfort- but I still have the love, why was it important to you to tell your story in such a public way, because I think I had heard so many stories of adoptive couples? Being
the kind of saviors, and this story was always adoptive couples and then a child who needed a home, and there was this absent member and I just really wanted it represented. I know so many birth mothers and we are part of the story, so I knew that I had it in me to tell a story that I think should be told from all birth mothers rerun some controversial columns and modern love that get people stirred up, but no subject gets people more stirred up the adoption, and you know it. It speaks adoption is there's no clean way to present it that isn't going to hurt people and if the, if the adoption story is positive, then we'll receive criticism that you're instilling false hope. And if the story is negative and a child is having all kinds of emotional problems or whatever then you're, scaring people away from that option and presenting it as something people should not do.
And nothing it really, no matter how how we do how we approach this subject. It is just a hot button topic that people get very upset about. I can't fully understand that, but it does strike me as a very inhuman act to give up a child and it's something that I've had to come to terms with myself like the deep animal act of letting go of a child shake something inside you. It changes something and that's the thing to to battle with your whole life. Have you had any more children, I have not have you wanted to. I I have, but it's interesting, because I feel like because I've practice loving my son at a distance there's a certain way in which I've approached relationships. That way that that I think I have a certain detachment but not to say that I don't love people, and I have had
great relationships. It sounds like that's yet another way use the word detachment that- decision that you made has had a sort of a new impact on you. Absolutely I do still have day is that I think, can someone survive giving up a child, I think potentially the life that I'm living is is not a real life because because it's not possible to have a real life after doing something like that. So I I'm at this point where little bit now or never for me to have children, and I do have a prospect that I don't want to talk about, because it's still in a somewhat early relationship stage. in the moments when I you know I'm some days hoping really strongly and then some days accepting the possibility that it will not happen. And the really forcing is in is in those moments when I accepted it,
happen, I really embraced the fact that I do have a child and I am really looking forward to continuing to grow as as his mother in our particular way. Amy seek. Is the author of this week story open adoption? Not so soon. In math game, he is a practicing landscape, architect and author of the memoir God and jet fire confessions of a birth mother. Amy Thank you again so much for speaking with us. Thank you very much Jones editor of the modern love column. For the New York Times and author of love, illuminated exploring life's most mystifying subject with the help of fifty thousand strangers, then thanks for illuminating a very complicated aspect of love again out for us today. Thank you.
special thanks to Sarah Paulson who read this week's essay, see Sarah as Marcia Clark in the upcoming series, the people vs Oj Simpson American Crime story, which debut It's on fx on February second, next week on modern love, Judd Apatow brings us the story of a date that ended emergency room being, It's a surgery like this alongside a woman in a sexy, dress, pretty much scream sex century. Modern love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by Jessica, Albert John Parodi and Emory Seabirds in the idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, Adler as our executive producer
Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the pod cast courtesy of a piano, and if you haven't already, has subscribed to modern love on Itunes, sticker or wherever you get your pod casts and while you're there right as a review- and let us know your thoughts on this week's episode now, I've already receive a a bunch of email from you. So I know what kind of adoration you've got for the column and the podcast. So it's time for you to become a part of modern love. Here's what you going to do. Get your phone or your tablet and record a voice memo or if you want, you can write an email and to us this week, we hear about your favorite quotation on love. It can be anything hopeful, thoughtful wistful whatever you want, then you're going to send it to modern love at W B. U R, dot org, modern love. All one word at
You be you are dot org! Here's one my faves to get you started it's from the past. with Rainer Maria Rilke. He once wrote for one human being to love another. That is, that's the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate the last if test and proof the work for which all other work is, but preparation, I'm making Chakrabarti thanks for listening The.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-17.