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.
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.