Friday, 12 September 2014

My 'Adoptive Parents' - 'I won't look too closely at that'

People may flock to this post, thinking I am talking about the church warden and his wife. But this isn't really about them.
If you want posts about the church warden and his wife, search for the 'St. Saviour' Posts.

Recently my friend/'adoptive mum' came to see me. She was so impressed by my photo projects that she grabbed my photo collage off the door of my flat and brought it back with us as I came to stay with her and her husband and we were off to see our friends/'adoptive family' for the weekend.

As she showed my photo collage to her husband, he looked through the photos, and when he saw the one with me in a swimsuit he said 'I won't look too closely at that!'

It was funny because in 2007, when I had been showing photos to the church warden and his wife, the churchwarden had wanted to see the photo of me in a swimsuit, he had wanted to look so closely that I took it off him, and I had to wrestle it off him, and that copy of it got ripped and crumpled.

But all these years later, this quiet Catholic man, so different from the churchwarden, said 'I wont look too closely at that'.
The difference between him and the church warden was that he knew what was right and how to honour God, and the churchwarden was obsessed with female flesh, to the point it came between him and God and led him to behave imorally.

It was early 2011 that I met them. My 'adoptive parents'.
They introduced themselves to me when I was sheltering in a church. On finding out that I was homeless, they invited me home for supper.

To their credit, they had and have a strong understanding of boundaries and personal space, and this is important in healthy relationships.
They did not invite me to stay over when I first met them, in fact I didn't stay over with them at all for some time, but what they did do then and numerous other times, was make sure I had a hot meal and some 'provisions'.
They never gave me money either. Basically they were capable of not being overwhelmed with emotion at my circumstances, and they were also able to let me live my own life, this is always vital in my friendships because when people get too close and too involved or get emotional, then things get beyond my capacity to cope with.

The Diocese of Winchester found out about this couple befriending me, and put their best efforts into destroying this relationship, I was even asked directly for this couple's phone number and surname!
And I was maligned to them behind my back by church members in the deanery and diocese of Winchester, it is horrifying to remember that despite me being destitute and branded and shamed and homeless and on the streets, there was no let up in the diocese of Winchester destroying me.

It did indeed cause a strain, this violation by the diocese, and I felt unsafe with this couple after all the damage already done by the diocese, I did not want to give them leeway to harm me further.
So I took a break from seeing this couple until I felt safe and they, having heard some of my story, assured me I was safe.

They have remained a great support to me. They saved my faith, among other things, and as the diocese continued to harm me, it was their words 'What you have done wrong is between you and God, not for the Diocese to judge' and 'The diocese will have to face God for what they have done to you' that saved my life and faith as I continued to be beaten down by the diocese in 2010/11.

On the streets, I was no longer looking for an adoptive family, I was too destroyed and the memory of what had happened with the churchwarden should have put me off ever letting anyone close to me again.
But this couple were safe.  There was no abuse, never has been.

The safe boundaries remain, they are part of a healthy relationship. This couple and I live our own lives, I do not live with them, I do  not want to, because I have my own life and so do they, they and I do not need to talk every day, or every week even. I expect nothing financially, I do not expect to be rescued or regressed or anything else.

The time we spend together is nice, I do get taken shopping for odds and ends, but that is healthy.
The dynamics are the opposite in every way to the relationship with the churchwarden and his wife, where the churchwarden was too close to me and without boundaries, and his wife considered me to be a burden. With this couple, the husband would never touch me, not even  to hug me, he is quiet and likes his own space, his wife is like a mother to me but she too is not a tactile person, she is shy but strong and very upright and moral, they both are, We have a group of friends, a fellowship who are like family, so basically I have the family I searched for, but I also still live my own life, independent and alone, it is all the best fit for someone with reactive attachment disorder who needs a family.

What is a parent, when someone is an adult? Well, someone older and wiser, who you love and who loves you, who is there for advice, to chat to, to visit, when it is mutually convenient, someone to share your life, photographs and memories with, someone to share a weekend with, or a coffee with, a friend, family. There in the background, living there own lives as I live mine.
I found what I was looking for, after I stopped looking.

Being an adoptive daughter does not have to be a legal thing, or an officially recognized thing, what matters is that the status of the relationship is clear and understood by both sides, it was unclear and blurry with the churchwarden and his wife, as well as abusive and unhealthy and damaging, but with the couple I am friends with, it is clear, I am not part of the birth family, I do not see them as siblings, I am not legally part of the family, I am my own person.

But, we use the term 'adoptive' we often joke about it, I call my friend 'Mum' or her name, or when she is nagging me I call her 'Mother!' and we laugh about it. 'Mother, stop fussing!' She is my next of kin, and I do have a framed photo of them on my chest of drawers, as well as a collage of photos of them and me and our other friends on my wardrobe doors.

A friendship that has lasted years, an adoptive relationship, a couple who are old enough to be my parents, and old enough to tease about finding them an old people's home. Three and a half years despite the constant damage from the diocese.

It goes to show, all it takes is lack of fear, refusal of church of england interference, control of emotions, clear boundaries, love, and real Christianity.

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