Monday, November 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 10: Reactions to Searching

Reactions to Searching If you've searched for or are thinking of searching for your natural family, what would you say to those who think your desire to search means you are unhappy in your adoptive family or had a bad childhood? If you don't have a desire to search, what would you say to those who wonder why you have no interest in knowing where you come from?

I just finished writing the Superhero post. Many superheros that I know of are adopted. But, the big difference is that their original parents are dead. If the original parents are really dead, and the child is adopted because they are an orphan, I wonder if there's the same stigma to searching? 

The stigma, of course, is the inevitable question everyone asks, "How do your adoptive parents feel about it?" It's implied that their feelings should come first, and the desire to know your history is secondary to that.

I've been extremely lucky. I had supportive adoptive parents that were cool with the search and have even gotten to the point where my mom has said that she's happy I'm in reunion with my birthfamilies because when she and my dad are no longer around, I'll still have family. Yeah, they're pretty amazing. 

However, I do think they would hide their feelings from me if they did have doubts, reservations, anger, betrayal. They wouldn't want it to be about them, they just want to support me. But it would be good to know if they do have any issues with it. Or maybe I'm just doubtful that they really can be that comfortable with it, I don't know. 

At this point, 22 years into reunion, I don't much care if people judge me. Or, I care, I just don't seek out others' opinions. 

I like the picture here at the left, which is a "reaction" that is similar to a stone being thrown in a still pond. Yes, you create ripples, but they extend far beyond you at the center. Your story influences so many people because it reaches so far.

The best reaction that I had to reunion came from a young woman at my son's daycare, and I wrote it in a post awhile back, but I'll repeat it here because it's worth sharing.

I had taken the day off from work so Kate and I could write together, and she came with me when I went to pick up Reed at the end of the day. My favorite teacher there, Katie, was standing outside with the kids. She's only 22 (I had Reed bring her in a 22-ounce beer when she turned 21 and she laughed so hard to see the little three year old with the big bottle of beer), but she's bad-ass as anything - country girl, goes hunting, knows about animals, grew up on a farm.
When I introduced Kate as my birthmother, she just asked simply, "Did you say birthmother?"

"Yeah," I said. 

"That's so cool!" she replied, looked at Kate and said, "Right on."

My hope from that small interchange is that younger people aren't so uptight about what and how families should look like. There was no judgement in Katie's voice. Her reaction was genuine and non-sensational. Just, "cool." I felt similar reassurance when Dane asked our five-year-old son, Quinn, if his friend had a single mom and he replied, "dad-mom, mom-mom, dad-dad, single-mom, whatever." It really is no big deal for him.

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