I find it interesting how sometimes one thing can set off a series of events that really impact your life. I think that ‘Murphy’, as in Murphy’s Law, (no, not the TV show) is alive and well… and living in my house! If anyone would like to come and pick him up… please do! Some of these things are really throwing a wrench in the works of my everyday life, but hey, life would be boring without these extra challenges, right?
I am going to write about something today that I have never written about before. Heck, it’s not something that I generally talk about, not even with my friends. What I am going to share is something that I have been dealing with, on and off, all my life, but in saying that, I know that I am not the only one that deals with similar feelings. These feelings are common and if I offend anyone, please accept my apologies, because it is not my intent. My intent here is only to share my feelings and not judge anyone for any choices that they should make.
I’m adopted. I was adopted at the age of 3 months. The fact that I am adopted is not the thing that I am finding challenging right now. The fact that I am adopted has always been a fairly positive experience. My family has always been very open about it and, still today, I get a phone call from my mom and dad each December 20th, which was the day they brought me home. I have pictures from that day. There I am, laying on the floor, staring up in awe at the Christmas tree and lights. It actually makes me smile to think about it still today, almost 45 years later! I laugh thinking about the comeback I always had, right in the middle of an argument with one of my brothers, ‘Well, at least mom and dad got to pick me!’ I would tell them. ‘They didn’t have any choice with you!!’ I continued. I know! Nice little sister eh?!
At about the age of 16 I found out that I have a full-blood sibling… a brother! You couldn’t imagine the excitement that I felt finding this out for the first time. As I mentioned, I have older brothers, two actually, and I will say they are the best brothers I could ever ask for and as much as I love them, the thought of having another one… well, it’s just very cool! I started searching for him, but for the average person, these searches are challenging, to say the least. The government agencies aren’t the most forthcoming with information on the post-adoption end of things. I haven’t given up hope and perhaps one day I will get to meet him. My fingers are crossed for that!
My birth parents… what can I say. I grew up having a lot of feelings of resentment toward them. I sometimes tell myself that I shouldn’t feel that way toward those I haven’t met. I think to myself that I should be able to forgive them for giving me up because the reality is, if they hadn’t given me up for adoption, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. I know it was a sacrifice that they made, so I could have a better life…but yet, I still feel resentment. I sometimes feel like they took the easy way out and yet as I get older I understand more the ‘logical’ side of it being in my best interest. But you know what?… the understanding that I have as I get older doesn’t make up for the underlying hurt and other feelings that pop up now and again. It can be a difficult feeling to process, being given up by your own mother. The person that is supposed to love and care for you. Now, again, as an adult and a parent, I understand the reasons, but it’s the heart felt feelings (loss, grief, anxiety, anger, etc) that can be challenging… it’s not the thoughts in my head.
When I became pregnant the first time I went through a stage where I thought that I should try to find my birth family. Much of that was based on medical concerns. What if something happened with the baby and I needed answers in regards to medical history? For those that are adopted, it’s really scary and sometimes challenging when health questions arise! I opted against searching at that time for reasons that aren’t important and then the whole idea became kind of an out of sight… out of mind thing. Besides, I had other things to focus on at that time.
So, fast forward to a little over 11 years later and I am at a crossroads again with a need to locate my birth parents, but this time for a different reason… and this presents my dilemma today.
You know, I have had casual conversations about being adopted and more often than not, people seem to be shocked when they hear that I haven’t really had much of an interest in finding my birth parents. The standard question seems to be… ‘How could you not want to meet them?’ Well, for me, it’s simple and I think I kind of covered that back a paragraph or two ago. I would always pose a scenario back to them, and it would go something like this:
Imagine yourself, wanting nothing more than to find your birth parents… being excited about the opportunity to learn more about them and why you are the way you are… learning more about other family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc… being able to connect with a part of ‘you’. Sounds pretty dreamy doesn’t it? Well, imagine that feeling and then at the peak of your excitement, being told that they are not interested in meeting you. That they have their lives and don’t want to complicate things. Now how do you feel?
Sadly, I’m not just sitting here being a pessimist! There is a very real possibility with a reunion of this kind that the birth parents may not be interested in meeting the child that they gave up for adoption so many years ago. And saying that, I can understand that it may not even be specifically about you, their child. It may simply have something to do with their feelings about their choices. Perhaps they have too many painful memories. But either way, for me, it is the unknown about the whole situation that presents the biggest challenge. The possibility of rejection, for the second time? This is just something that, even in 45 years, I haven’t been able to come to terms with yet.
Maybe someday I will be one of those families that experience a happy reunion… but until then I think curiosity about them, at a bit of a distance, despite the need right now, may just have to be where it ends.
Until next time…