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When you talk about finding your family by birth…

04 Oct

Invariably, when some hear about an adoptee wanting to find their family of birth, they leap to money, the adopted one is looking for an inheritance.  That’s what I want to talk about today.  Unless you’ve lived your life as an only, you have no lived experience to explain the complicated, nuanced feelings an adoptee can have being adopted, not having full knowledge of their identity.  The collateral damage that can happen when you have missing pieces.

Even in this era with openness, many adoptions are closed, others only have partial openness with a few selected relatives or just one-half of your family.  Those missing pieces will still be there for this generation, some will need those missing pieces filled in.  I’m not going to go into the obvious need to know your story, the reasons, what happened, wanting to develop relationships with family members, as I’m going to assume everyone can understand that basic desire and need.  What I want to talk about is some of the other reasons that may not dawn on those who weren’t adopted.

The missing pieces of your nature.  The wanting to know your history, your ancestry, your living relatives, what part of you is nature, what parts were modified and shaped by nurture.  The very essence of a family.  From the conversations that happen at family dinners when a new baby is born and you naturally turn to who he favors, as he grows the conversation evolves into whose temperament he shares, who he’s like personality wise, who else has the same gifts he has.  Those conversations and sameness create bonds between and inside generations.

They provide continuity over generations.  It’s why so many sayings about family, what makes a family, exist, they hold basic truths.  And why it’s different being raised in an adoptive family.  You may get lucky and have many similar traits, you may not, one thing you’ll never have is the continuity of traits passed down generation after generation to link yourself to, to know you are part of them.  Unless you’ve never had that, you can’t begin to fathom how comforting that knowledge is to some, perhaps many.  Those are part of the missing pieces that can be so important.

The missing piece of genetic mirroring.  I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve stared at pictures of my family of birth.  How I’ve pulled up pictures from when I was a certain age to see if I could see myself reflected back in a relative.  I’m not alone in being fascinated by similarities between an adoptee and a new-found family member, you can find post after post by adoptees talking about it, photo’s posted, comments about similarities.  It’s the comfort you feel seeing yourself reflected back in another family member’s face, body shape.  Missing pieces you’ve craved as long as you remember, or something you might not have even realized until you were given that gift.  Another commonality is that many would not turn down the chance to see photo’s even if they don’t wish to reunite.

The loss to your soul when you accept being at peace with never knowing.  Another aspect that I find common among adoptees; living with being ‘curious’ but at peace with never meeting our family of birth, and we are okay with that reality.  We’ve accepted that we have no choice, we’ve agreed to not be in control.  That is, until we are given a real choice.  Once we hold that key something changes inside, we realize we can find our missing pieces, we can finally make a decision about what we want, truly want, instead of accepting we had no choice.  It’s a shift I find words not able to explain adequately, from what never can be, to something that is possible completely rocks your world.  Having no choice to being in control of making a choice.  It frees you to follow your heart is the best explanation I can give, even if you choose not to reunite.  You’ve been given the gift of choice and control of what you want to do.

Wanting to reunite has nothing to do with what you can inherit monetarily, it’s about what you’ve always missed, even if you didn’t realize you missed it until you were given the key to get it, or the possibly of getting to make that choice.

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25 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Adoption

 

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25 responses to “When you talk about finding your family by birth…

  1. faithinflipflopssite

    October 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    So many points I can agree with, I’ve only been in reunion for 18 months. Things awakened in me that I didn’t realize until reunion. Great post to allow us adoptees to remember we do have a choice.

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    • TAO

      October 4, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks Faith – I struggled to make sense on that point and glad it did… 🙂

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  2. faithinflipflopssite

    October 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Until recently it often felt like I didn’t have much choice, being in reunion we all have the choice of how we proceed now.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  3. Lara/Trace

    October 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I remember a story an adoptee told me about her hands were exactly like her mother when they met the first time. It may the small things we notice but they are huge things overall. Wonderful post that makes me very very sad about not meeting my mother, not even once.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      October 4, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks Lara/Trace…I never met my mother either, I wish I hadn’t been too late.

      Liked by 2 people

       
  4. eagoodlife

    October 4, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    So sorry Trace and TAO that you did not meet your mothers. I was sad to not be able to love mine, too many years had passed but I was so grateful to have met her and to feel a blood connection, as someone once said it is like stepping into a river. When I met my cousins we all had similar feet! It was very comforting and helped me to know I was part of a biological family. Photos taken over many years also showed similarities and it felt that at last I had a foundation for my life when I heard family stories and history. It is cruel when we are denied these possibilities. Why are we always asked about our motives when we seek reunion? So often attributed to a search for money when nothing could be further from the truth usually. We so often feel we have to explain at the outset that we’re not after money. So demeaning and belittling. I find it offensive and part of the stigma of adoption. Great post TAO and I’ll repost if I may. x

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    • TAO

      October 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Yes to everything you said Von…

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  5. eagoodlife

    October 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “I’m not interested in money. I just want to meet them.”

    Like

     
  6. cb

    October 5, 2016 at 12:14 am

    “The loss to your soul when you accept being at peace with never knowing. Another aspect that I find common among adoptees; living with being ‘curious’ but at peace with never meeting our family of birth, and we are okay with that reality. We’ve accepted that we have no choice, we’ve agreed to not be in control. That is, until we are given a real choice. Once we hold that key something changes inside, we realize we can find our missing pieces, we can finally make a decision about what we want, truly want, instead of accepting we had no choice. It’s a shift I find words not able to explain adequately, from what never can be, to something that is possible completely rocks your world. Having no choice to being in control of making a choice. It frees you to follow your heart is the best explanation I can give, even if you choose not to reunite. You’ve been given the gift of choice and control of what you want to do.”

    Very true – something a lot of people don’t understand.

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    • TAO

      October 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks CB

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  7. Pj

    October 5, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Great post,Tao.Baby Scoopee who searched and found graves.. but also have found much closure….. and peace. And I’ve given up being ” in control” since my search. Truly life changing.Althugh the journey never ends!

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    • TAO

      October 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks Pj – I’m sorry you too found a grave.

      Like

       
  8. flrpwll

    October 5, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Again you make me think about how lucky I have been. Searching wasn’t an issue, meeting wasn’t an issue, and on the whole things have been OK since I found my family in 1991.

    I still get a huge kick out of the fact that one of my brothers kids looks *so much* like one of mine. No mean feat, on the part of genetics, when you consider they share only one grandparent.

    I’ve never understood the money thing, though, and honestly find it quite offensive. Just what kind of people do these people think adoptees are? Or is it a psychological way of trying to talk the adoptee out of searching?

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    • TAO

      October 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      I’m glad you were one of the lucky ones flrpwll…

      As the money thing – I think it’s both with the odd clueless person too.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. beth62

    October 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    “We’ve accepted that we have no choice, we’ve agreed to not be in control. That is, until we are given a real choice. Once we hold that key something changes inside, we realize we can find our missing pieces, we can finally make a decision about what we want, truly want, instead of accepting we had no choice. It’s a shift I find words not able to explain adequately, from what never can be, to something that is possible completely rocks your world. Having no choice to being in control of making a choice. It frees you to follow your heart is the best explanation I can give, even if you choose not to reunite. You’ve been given the gift of choice and control of what you want to do.”

    I think that’s a very good explanation, frees you to follow your heart, frees you to free yourself to follow your heart. The freedom to be true, authentic. The freedom to choose. It is hard to explain!

    I’ll never forget the moment I finally got my hands on that key. I held it tight and kept it hidden while I considered everything and everyone around me. It was then that I realized I was in control, I did have a real choice. I put the key in the lock, and naturally thought about all the scary things in the dark, that can of worms and Pandora’s box and the faces I’d be slapping that I’d heard so much about from others.

    In that moment it hit me, and hit me hard. I was not opening only those dark unknown to me locks, slaps in the faces, cans and boxes of others that were constantly mentioned, considered. I was opening my own door, the door to my cage. I saw for the first time that the keyhole was on my side of the door, that there was light shining in thru the keyhole, and the key that I never thought I would ever find or see, let alone hold in my own hands, even fit. I just could not believe it, and it was real, I’d never truly allowed myself to believe it could actually be really real. Everything changed for me in that moment, what was once locked from/to me was now open, once dark was now light, once wrong was now right, once a dream was now reality.

    The second I turned that key my world became enormous, filled with answers to long held mysteries, new research, people, places, opportunities, ideas, new thoughts on everything in life and on myself. A new light shone on everything. I stuck my head out and looked around, it was exhausting processing all that I saw, thought and felt. Many areas were still so foggy, hard to see clearly. I rested in my familiar small box when I needed to, eventually I managed to push that heavy door open and step out more and more.

    15 years later I still occasionally rest in that old space, but not for long, it’s become a very empty place. Peaceful, yes, but it’s an empty kind of peace found there. A resigned peace, an I’ve-given-up peace – a forced peace that I can see more clearly now that the fog has lifted. Like a bedroom with only a bed, and dreams of easy and difficult times of the past, and future, to think about, now in clarity. Perfect place for a rest, for a power nap, but not a comfortable enough living room any longer for me, not a space I choose to stay in. My living room is as huge as the universe now, a universe where everyone is welcomed, and I have given myself that gift of freedom to explore all of it as much as I wish. And it was, and still is, the absolute hardest thing I have ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      October 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Very good description for something that just can’t be explained – thanks Beth.

      Like

       
      • beth62

        October 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm

        Thank You. Not sure if I’ve really noticed that I thought of it like that before, or heard it expressed the way you did.
        But allowing myself the freedom to open that door, as well as leaving it open, really was the hardest part for me.

        I left out the part about sticking my head out and yelling through the dark distance “helllloooo mother”. And she freaks in terror of unknown monsters and vengeful serial killers in the nightmarish dark, whacks my head off and slams my door and ran for her hole! I stumbled around and found my head in the dark, nursed my wounds, tried again… hellllooooo mother…. whack! Off goes the head again and my guts are ripped out along with it this time. Yep, reattached my head, shoved everything else back down my throat again and took another whack at it. But this time I knew better than to just stick my head out into the dark again, even tho I had grown a neck of steel :). Put on full body armour, flipped on the sun and said, Hey Ma, ‘sup? In the light, at the right time for her, she finally realized it was safe to say, “Hey, good to see ya 🙂 what took you so long!”
        arrgg
        My father and his family over welcomed me. It was great at first, until I realized he was trying to trap me, capture me and put me in a new and even smaller box. It’s been great again, since he realized that there is no box that can trap me. Never again, I am too wise for that and I know how that key works now.

        Yes, all that, even the chance of being gutted and decapitated for a third time, trapped in another small cage, or telling my afamily about the doors I’d opened, being easier than allowing myself the freedom to turn that damn key to begin with and continue to do it.
        The whole time my husband, friends were saying things like… wth, you born in a barn? you are letting bugs in, Shut The Door! I’d stay in safety if I were you, do you want to get hit by a train next time? a bus? What are you thinking?
        And of course….you know now that they don’t have a bunch of money, why even bother anymore? What will you get out of going through all this? You’ll just make yourself sick. Then you’ll really need that kidney…

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  10. Dannie

    October 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    As an adoptive mom I find that my daughter’s innate fashion sense and delicate nature of loving artsy things and heels and clothes and makeup and jewelry and needing a sense of order is completely nature…..and I love it because sometimes this plain Jane mom doesn’t know just how to get it right sometimes 😄
    If she is able to find out anything when she is older I will consider that a blessing. I’ve been trying and it seems as though her bio family is very anti technology as I can’t find any information 😞 To save for her

    Like

     
    • TAO

      October 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Miss you Dannie…by the time your little is an adult, if she want to DNA testing will reveal it.

      It’s been interesting to see where nature is predominant and where I got some of my quirks and attitudes…

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      • Dannie

        October 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm

        On a random note is there a way to change which email I get your blog to? I keep forgetting to go to this email to check for blog reads. I’ve been catching up this morning

        Like

         
        • TAO

          October 12, 2016 at 7:33 pm

          You can check the unfollow button and then follow…(assuming this)

          Like

           
  11. weedragon

    December 27, 2016 at 12:23 am

    So grateful to have found your blog…at 44 years old, an adoptee with three kids of my own….I just found my natural family all within the last two weeks. I feel insane to say the least. I spent years accepting I would never know, feeling that as a loss, but oh well, we must move on,….then took a dna test. Once I saw I had my natural family all within easy virtual reach, a floodgate of desire to know and be known by them opened up all over every aspect of my life present past and future. The thing that has been taboo now stands in front of me and suddenly all of my feelings and even my memories are seen through a new perspective. It is like I have been walking around looking through an out of focus lens and it all just came into focus…cheesy analogy but so incredibly true.

    Sadly, one of my very first thoughts after first contact was “oh no, I hope they don’t think I want money”. Then hours pouring over pictures. I showed one of a full sister to my adoptive mother and said “look, it is like my twin” and she said “I don’t see a single resemblance”….and I wanted to jump out of my skin with years of unfelt grief over not being ALLOWED to look like anyone or claim dna connection (not even with my own biological children becasue it might be hurtful to my adoptive parents). I could go on and on, I have so much to say,…but it is so prescient right now….so want to say thanks….and I would love connection with other adoptees if anyone wants to contact me and tell me where all the connections are to be found lol……Juniadragon @gmail.com

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    • TAO

      December 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      weedragon – first things first. I edited your email address by including a space between your name and the @ – all people need to do is to delete that space but putting your email address complete leaves you wide open to tons of spam.

      So many of us lived our lives knowing we’d never know, perfectly normal lives, some like me passively registering on registries but without a whole lot of hope. Then, we were given the key to unlock knowledge, and everything changed, shifted, and our world was rocked. Your new reality will take time to even out to where it becomes the norm. I’m sorry that your mom chooses to not see the biological likeness, she’s making a choice to deny and I’m sorry that she chose that avenue. There is nothing better than seeing yourself reflected back in so many different ways, physically and in traits. Enjoy it! Also, take time to settle, breathe, write, feel. I wish you ongoing connection.

      Like

       

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