I think one of the sadder things that happen in adoption is when the possibility of any kind of reunion ends because the other party has died. In my own family, I can think of 2 instances.
In the early 1990s, before Tennessee decided to relent and let the victims of Georgia Tann’s baby stealing and selling scandal have the closed adoption files the state was charged with protecting, my mom tried to get hers. She was unsuccessful but the state did tell her that her original mother had already died. She had said to me as she embarked on her own effort that as a mother herself, she would have wanted to know what became of her child. My mom was devastated that she would never be able to connect with the woman who gestated and birthed her.
After my dad died 4 months after I lost my mom, I began my own search effort as the child of two adoptees. When I learned who my dad’s original mother was and connected with some cousins who shared my grandmother with me, I discovered that at the time of my dad’s death, he had a half sibling living only 90 miles away who could have told him so much about his mother.
When in my own search, I discovered my mom’s original father’s family, I learned that her half-sister had only died a few months before I arrived. Thankfully, her daughter spent a wonderful afternoon with me and her mother’s numerous family albums to trigger lots of stories of what the family had been doing throughout my long absence from the biological, genetic relations.
Both of my parents could have had relationships with genetic, biological family during their lifetimes, if closed and sealed adoptions records had not kept them apart – which has always been the only reason these records have been closed and sealed and birth names changed to mask the original identities.
So this morning I read several others in similar straits caused by adoption –
“I just heard that my birth mother passed away yesterday. She denied my existence to her son, my half brother that I now have a passing relationship with. Have known her name forever and never had the courage to reach out. My chances are gone now. Feeling double sadnesses tonight. I pray you are at peace now.”
“My birth mom wants nothing to do with me, I just hope to meet her before one of us passes.”
“I met my birth mother but it wasn’t really that good. I bonded with one sister and birth mother passed before we could try and have a decent relationship.”
“My birth mother is 84. I am doubting things will ever change to reunite us before she passes.”
“When I finally looked for my birth mom, she had passed away.”
“The power of secrets and shame can be heartbreaking.”
“As a birth mother, this is one of my biggest fears – that I will die before she decides its time to see me. I have reached out to her but she hasn’t acknowledged me.”