This schooling adoptees is getting really old

08 May

Argh, another article.  Today, my role as Adoptive Mom is to school all you adoptees about what really happens when you reunite, despite not having reunited myself because I’m not adopted. 

What Birth Parent And Adoptee Reunions On The News Are Not Sharing

Dear Denalee,

I’m writing broad-brush here for ease, assume the #notall as needed throughout.

If an adoptee is interested in searching, it’s likely they’ve thought about it for years, perhaps decades.  We’ve pondered it, considered all the different outcomes, faced our fears, understand what we want out of it at minimum.

We’ve even considered what it would be like if we are rejected, again, thought about how we’d deal with that.

We’ve sought advice from other adoptees who’ve been there, done that.  We’ve heard the good, and the bad.  We’ve read blogs, articles, we’ve joined support groups online or in person.  Sometimes, we’ve even sought out mothers to get their take on what it’s like, how they’d like to be approached, what to avoid.

I’ve never met an adoptee who assumed a reunion would be like shown on TV.

We agonize over what is the best way to make contact; phone, message, letter, then the next step, finding the words we want to say, in what order.  Sometimes the words alone takes weeks to craft into just the right message, not too much, not too little, all the time hoping we’ve done it right.  If it’s a letter then we have to decide how to send it, because first and foremost, we don’t want to out her if no one knows, or scare her, we want her to read it, and accept us.  Same with a phone call, things to say, what to say if someone else answers, what we want answered if that’s our only contact.  We prepare, worry over every aspect because we may only have one chance.

We don’t do this on a whim one day as you seem to assume.  We expect it to be hard, scary, the outcome unknown.

Not a single adoptee I’ve spoken to ever thought it would be perfect, wonderful, happily-ever-after.  Why?  Because we are adopted.  We weren’t kept for one reason or another.  We are also not stupid enough to expect a fairy-tale reunion.  We hope it will go well.  We hope a relationship can develop.  We hope we get our questions answered.  We hope we get pictures.  If it doesn’t turn out well, we turn to other adoptees for support, even if we were the one who pulled back.

We hope, but we don’t expect anything, after all, we were adopted, not kept.

As to your caution: “Be sure you’ve worked through your feelings of the past. Whether you’re an adoptee or birth parent, work it in whatever way is most effective. Let go of feelings of abandonment as much as you can. Talk to a professional, if necessary, to be sure that you really are able to leave the past in the past so you can move forward–however the future will look.”

Leaving the past in the past is not possible when you are reuniting, you get that right?  You are reuniting with your past.

We are also the sum of all our experiences, we are who we are because of what made us, us.  You can’t undo the past, the losses you’ve been dealt, the joys you’ve had, regrets you have, it’s all part of the life you’ve lived, its made you, you.  Remove any piece of our life and you’re a different person.

Just like anything filled with big emotions that you’ve lived through in life, it’s with you, waiting to be triggered again.

We know reunion is going to trigger feelings we’ve had about being adopted, just preparing to make contact brings up many feelings, as well as hopes.  Sometimes, in reunion, the depth of those feelings will catch you unaware, new feelings can come out of the blue, but we deal with them, process them, sometimes it takes a while, but we deal and turn to other adoptees to talk about it, or a professional we trust.

Sometimes reunions work out, sometimes they suck, sometimes they just are what they are.


An old adoptee who has reunited, lived through it, survived, and is better for it.

P.S. perhaps, in the future consider writing articles to your peers on adoptive parenting, something you have experience with, and leave adoptee advice to other adoptees.







Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

22 responses to “This schooling adoptees is getting really old

  1. Lara/Trace

    May 8, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I could not read her – it made me sick. But you I read.


  2. Frank Ligtvoet

    May 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Look at this page of the website and see how they earn their money from prospective adioptive parents: Denalee writes hundreds of these industry pieces for this site. Afdoption in the US is free enterprise, not child welfare, and corrupt journalists are happy to help the industry.


  3. cb

    May 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I got my OBC in 1987 and it took me about 15 years to do anything about it (it was the advent of the internet that spurred me into action, i.e. I googled my bmother’s name (I found a cemetery record) and another 4 years before doing anything about it because as you noted above, I was trying to think of the best way of contacting extended family.

    As you also point out, we don’t go into it thinking it will be a fairytale – I think my mindset was “hope for the best, fear the worst”. Even though by the time I did make first contact with an uncle, I was all “well if they tell me to get lost, that’s that”, I think that in reality I would still have felt really hurt if they had and no amount of preparing is going to necessarily change that.

    Our adoptions were closed/records sealed because it was believed at the time that a “clean break” was best and trying to reconnect something that was severed will never be easy. As you say, the outcome is unknown and we adoptees are all too well aware of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Everything cb said…


  4. pj

    May 8, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Yes, ” Whatever the adoptee or birth parent had been imagiining for all these years is almost never the reality” . Of course, because we could only imagine and weren’t able to live it !!! This Mormon ( if you can’t /aren’t able to marry, someone else should raise your child ) author lives in her own fairytale world. And they are so interested in ( their family version of ) genealogy ! Rant over 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. shadowtheadoptee

    May 9, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Oh, yes! Please, someone, who has never lived the experience, tell me how it is! How could she, possibly, even, have a clue! Holy crap! That’s like saying, “I have a cousin, who has a sister, who has a friend, who adopted, so I know all about the subject.”
    I have an idea. Why don’t we start writing blog post to, potential, adoptive parents, about how they should feel about being childless? How they should prepare, because, the baby they adopt, may not be the child of their dreams. It’s possible, that their adopted child may be rebellious as a teenager. They might, someday, try drugs, or be depressed, and so on.
    The author of that article, is, one of the reasons, I have gone silent. I got so, very, tired of people with, absolutely, no clue, telling me what, and how, I should feel, think, and act. You said it well, TAO. The only thing I could think of to say, after reading that, were ugly, four-letter words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 9, 2017 at 3:16 am

      You make me smile Shadow, glad you are my friend.


      • shadowtheadoptee

        May 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        Right back at ya, girlfriend. That article pissed me off. She, apparently, hasn’t read many adoptee blogs, about reunion. Maybe we should send her the links to my story here? Give her the gory details, of what goes on “before” those Happy tv reunions? Give her a, uhm, clue?

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          May 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

          Based on her prior writings I don’t know that she’d be able to hear. It’d be good if she could hear.

          Liked by 1 person

    • beth62

      May 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Yeah, she should stick to writing about Fairy Tale Adoptions, which seem to be perfectly acceptable for most anyone to write about, hope for, pray for, wish for, fight for, pay for, and absolutely expect.

      I really think she could try a bit harder to be more positive about the Adoption and reunion experiences 🙂 She sounds a little down, a little upset. Why all the negativity? Why choose the negative now? She must have had a bad experience. Maybe she didn’t think it through well enough before proceeding. Maybe she had too many dreamy childish expectations.

      I wonder what and how long she thought about it, what she considered for everything and everyone, and what she planned/plans and expects for a future Adoption reunion? She’s obviously thinking about it – along with how to control it, manipulate it. Seems to have put a lot of thought into the part on proper Adoptee choices at reunion.

      I’d bet millions that we Adopted ones could write a magnificent Fairy Tale Adoption story that no Adopted parents tale could ever dream to compare to. What do ya think? Let’s steal it from them, let them know how it should be done.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shadowtheadoptee

        May 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Whaaaa…Beth? Are you saying our stories are not magnificent, fairytale, adoptions stories, that no adoptive paren’s tale would, ever, dream to compare? Shock! Who knew! Hmmm, it, does, all, kind of, Seem to be unbelievable, when I look back at it all. As they say, “you, just, can’t make this shit up.”
        I think she is, one of those, angry adoptive parents, who, should, just be grateful, we aren’t her adopted children? Can you imagine? I’d say she was lucky. Wouldn’t you?


  6. Cindy

    May 9, 2017 at 4:39 am

    “What was once worked through and set aside…” huh? She lives in the land of myth that “mother’s forget and move on with their lives” make believe. Plus, if something has been “worked through” it is not triggered again, ever, no matter the circumstances. She is rather clueless when it comes to the reality and depth of living adoption loss and reunion.


  7. Raven

    May 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Thanks, TAO, for writing this one today. You are so much more civil than I am on this subject.

    P.S. Waves at Shadow. (You’ve been on my mind lately!)


    • shadowtheadoptee

      May 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Hi, Raven. I think of you often. If you like, I am on FB now. TAO can tell you how to find me. Hugs, miss you, and hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tiffany

    May 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    “P.S. perhaps, in the future consider writing articles to your peers on adoptive parenting, something you have experience with, and leave adoptee advice to other adoptees.”

    From an adoptive mom, no, please, just no. Please. No.


    • TAO

      May 9, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      I almost choked on the toast I’m eating when I read your comment because you made me burst out laughing. You Rock.


      • Tiffany

        May 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

        🙂 Thanks!

        I don’t get the impressions this lady would care much for my overall approach to parenting, let along how I parent my daughter who is adopted. But then, I don’t look to other adoptive parents of younger children for any advice on parenting- I look to adoptees. They lived it. Who better to learn from? I’m so thankful for people like you, TAO, who share what it is like to live as an adoptee. I am sure it must be very hard sometimes, especially when you are attacked for your feelings by others. But I am so thankful for it.


        • TAO

          May 10, 2017 at 7:08 pm

          Back at you Tiffany – I’ve appreciated your grace and wisdom for a long time – any time you want to share to AP’s reading this blog, let me know.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. L4R

    May 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm



  10. Lynne Miller

    May 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Well put! As a late discovery adoptee, I embarked on my search with my eyes wide open. I didn’t go into it thinking my long lost blood relatives would welcome me into their lives, although I’ve been welcomed by some new family members. I don’t expect the red carpet treatment from every new relative and I don’t intend to go where I’m not welcome. Knowing who my biological parents is satisfying. I have closure.

    Liked by 1 person


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