NOV. 14, SATURDAY - Lost Daughters' PromptFor those who are in reunion with birth family members, talk about the rewards and the challenges of building and maintaining relationships with people related by biology but not by life experience. How do these relationships differ from those with your adoptive family members? Have you experienced the “reunion rollercoaster,” the wanting to be close and then pushing away that many describe? Are your relationships with your birth family members what you would like them to be? Knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again? What might you do differently if given a second chance? Has being in reunion made everything “better” in relation to your adoption? Are you pleased with how your adoptive and birth families relate to each other? Why or why not?
I read a post today about an adoptee who is happy to have been a closed adoption. My first reaction was that I could've written that post myself. Back before I was in reunion, I felt the same way. I've even said some of the same things:
I've always known I was adopted
In my family, being adopted was seen as a good thing
Being adopted wasn't upsetting for me
I respect my birthmother for making the decision that was best for me
I've said all of those things. Not having more information, those were the foundational elements of the structure of my life. It was what was best. I have a good life. Why should I care?
Know what bugs me? I miss that ignorance. It's so damn comfortable. You are loved! What else matters? Why SHOULD you care?
I went into reunion the way a clueless co-ed opens a door in a horror movie - "What can go wrong?" I thought. I didn't know what lay behind the door. It's not that it was horrible, that would have been easy to reconcile, "Of course I was relinquished!" I would have thought in that situation. And it's not that I revealed an unimaginable Eden either. That would have made my discontent equally explainable.
No, it's that what lay behind the door were my original families. Plain and simple, with all their gifts and their faults. Perfectly human, and a whole lot like me. The families I had been denied as a child.
Had I gone through life never knowing my families, I would never had known that loss. It would have been easier. Yes, more comfortable. Reunion is uncomfortable. Addressing that there are things you lost, things that were outside of your control, ways that you were controlled - those are unsettling feelings. Ignorance is easier.
So, why shake things up? Why not just accept what you were given and not look back?
I guess, for me, the answer is because that's empty. It's ignorant. Sure, you're happy, but you don't know who you are. I've heard a statistic that genealogy research is the most popular searches on the internet after porn. We crave knowing where we come from nearly as much as we crave sex, so that tells you something. As adoptees, many of us are missing even that first connection to the tree in not knowing where we come from. It matters. I know many people wish it didn't matter, but it does. It doesn't mean you can't make your own families or build your own life, but without the grounding of where you came from, I feel like you're trying to gain traction sliding on sand.
I'd rather be rooted on hard truths of the knowledge of my history as a way to make a more solid future. I know what I've lost AND I know what I've gained. One doesn't cancel the other out in either direction. The deeper the sorrow the higher the joy, or so they say.
But, yes, sometimes I wish I could just go back to being content. Contentment is easier. Questioning is difficult. But then again, I don't know of many people who've said on their deathbed, "I just wish I'd known less!" So, I'm going with that. For better or worse, I'll take the unabridged version of myself.
Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?
Good for you, Cathy. It might be more difficult, but you seem to take in the blessings of it. I am caught between wanting to push a reunion and wanting my daughter to be able to stay where she is, her choice. It's an interesting and terribly difficult decision.ReplyDelete
Lindy, Thanks for commenting. Yes, it is a difficult decision. Sometimes I do envy the simplicity of view of adoptees who chose to stay in their safe, closed worlds. I think back on who I was then (albeit a child, 18) and I was confident and assured of who I was. Ever since, I have not been. I am both and neither, but more complete. And complete is better for me, for the kind of person I am. I'm not sure if that's true for all adoptees. I hope your daughter reaches out. To tell the truth, I wouldn't be where I am now if my birth mom wasn't terribly pushy. She is on me when I pull away and I have to tell her when to back off (we've been at this for a long time, so we have a sort of routine). But a lot of the time it's comforting to me that she is so wanting to have me in her life. I know she's able to stick it out and wait out the times I need to pull away. Not all birthparents can. Not much of an answer, I'm afraid.Delete
Color me ignorant, then.ReplyDelete
Fair enough. But I actually don't mean ignorant in a bad way, if that makes sense. Ignorant just means you don't know something. I didn't so much search as have reunion plopped on top of me. Like I said in the previous comment I do miss the solidity of my identity pre-reunion. There is a structure that closed adoption provides that I understand. I just wanted to give a point of view on WHY anyone WOULD want reunion when it is hard and emotional and churns up a lot of stuff. For me, knowledge about myself is the reason to know. But I could understand why someone wouldn't want to shake everything up too.ReplyDelete
It's taken every contact, connection, conversation and minute of the last 20 plus years to integrate this adopted life. Still...ReplyDelete
Your words are so true. ♡
I have been in reunion with my Birth mother and her family since I was 18. I am turning 36 this coming weekend. As of this coming Sunday, I will have now known my Mother for as long as I didn't know her. The journey has been long and hard, but it has also been so freeing. I read your words about being content in your adopted life, and than only realizing what you had lost until you had found it. It's such a strange feeling and really difficult to describe unless you are living it. The deeper the sorrow, the higher the joy indeed. So glad I came across this blog!ReplyDelete