Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family Tree

Looking through facebook for other adoption/reunion pages that have shared values with our story, I came across this image on a page called, "Adoption Reunion Stories."

What was disconcerting is that this was the only thing on the Facebook page. No comments, no stories, nothing else. It made it feel somewhat ominous or creepy. But, I thought visually representing the birthparents as the roots, the adoptive family as the branches and the adoptee as the trunk was clever, so I shared it with Kate.

Kate said she didn't know why, but that she found it polarizing. It caused me to pause and analyze the image more.

Looking at the picture again, I could see instantly what could be seen as negative by the birthmother. In this image, the birth family is kept underground, hidden, secret. I realized, this is a visual representation of closed adoption.

Although I was in a closed-adoption (where I didn't know my birthfamily growing up), because I've known Kate since I was 18, there are ways our reunion feels like an open adoption just because I've know her for so long.

So it got me thinking, if this is the image of the family tree in closed adoption, what would a family tree in open adoption look like? This is what I came up with...

A mangrove tree has an exposed root-system. Is messy and complicated, but it is amazing and the life around it thrives because of it. One quote I liked about mangroves in Wikipedia stated that they slow down the tidal water enough so sediment comes in. "In this way, mangroves build their own environment." 

That's what I think of adoptees in reunion or open adoptions - you have to build your own environment, one that is unique and nourishing for you. Also, a young tree is amazingly adaptable. "If it does not root, it can alter its density and drift again in search of more favorable conditions." Although the adoptee may not be able to choose their family or where they come from, they can drift until they find a better situation. 

So, for me, I'm more of a Mangrove tree. Everything's exposed, but life can thrive that way.


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

Please comment!

1 comment:

  1. Let's take this tree as the adoptee. They grow, not knowing their roots of what they are growing from.

    Rather than the adoptive family being the branches that stem from the adoptee (which isn't quite right), the adoptive family is more the nurturing gardeners. They get the tree sapling not knowing exactly what genus it is and with no instructions on how to tend to it. But, they tend to it as best they can. Not knowing the soil and conditions that it came from, they ammend the soil to be rich and nourishing and move around until they find the right amount of sun that seems to allow it to thrive. Eventually, over time, the tree matures and is full and healthy and doesn't need careful tending any longer, it can survive on its own.

    It doesn't matter where the tree comes from, what type it is, it needs to "bloom where it is planted," as I have had friends say was their hope for themselves and their transitions.