Maybe it’s a woman thing. Today, I am happily experiencing a long distance (via telephone) “reunion” with my adoptee mom’s cousin. I had previously spoken with her brother and it was all about family origins and lineage but I already had researched and discovered most of it myself.
So, today, it is some insight into the more emotional questions that have haunted me since receiving my mom’s adoption file from the state of Tennessee. She was a Georgia Tann – Tennessee Children’s Home Society baby.
Much this cousin has shared with me was as my heart suspected already. But it was nice to receive a confirmation and not just my wild imagination making up stories. There have been too many stories in my immediate family already in attempts to fill in gaps that couldn’t be filled during my parent’s lifetimes.
With this cousin, I feel more complete now. This part of my family line was less developed.
My parents were both adoptees. They died without any reunion. It has been left to me to find my own closure with the circumstances. Obviously, I would not even exist had their adoptions never happened. Therefore, I am grateful for my own blessing, including that I wasn’t given up for adoption as well. I also acknowledge the sadness and tragedies that came before I was born.
I love to read stories about happy adoptee reunions. They do not always turn out well. I do believe that the need to know is universal in adoptees, even when they think otherwise. Human beings are not meant to have no continuity, no connection to their origins and genetics, only a black hole leading into the past. I have experienced a black hole beyond my parents and I now have the information they lacked.
My mom yearned for a reunion she never realized. She once wrote to me in an email – “When I found out that my Mother was dead and my Father’s whereabouts unknown, the purpose of my search sort of fizzled out. I just felt that as a Mother I would be devastated to lose a child and never know what happened to it.”
So I love happy stories of adoptee reunions when the adoptive parents are supportive and encouraging of their adopted child’s need to know. Today, I read a very nice story about a young man named Alex. His parents were high school students and he was adopted when he was only 5 days old. His adoptive parents are Jewish.
Alex was a Communication Arts major at the University of Wisconsin and was taking a documentary film-making class. He needed a personal project and decided he wanted to look for his biological mother and document the development of his search. His adoptive mother had his baby bracelet that came home with him. It had his biological mother’s name on it, Trina Dunn. He used Google and found four women named Trina. One turned out to be the right Trina. The reunion is happy and he has discovered another “family” religious perspective. His original genetic family is Catholic and his parents have been married all these years.
Another story I read today was about Jenna, who was helped to find her original mother thanks to DNA and MyHeritage. Their DNA Quest project is a pro-bono initiative offered to adoptees who have little information to aid a quest of their own.
Jeanna says, “When you’re adopted, you have no idea of the background that led up to your adoption. I didn’t know if she would be accepting. She was, and everyone in her family was completely accepting.” Jenna says she now feels a sense of completeness that was lacking in her life.
If you are an adoptee and want to search for your genetic origins – know it is your basic human right to discover where you came from. If the reunion doesn’t go well, you will know that at least you tried. There is so much guilt and shame attached to any mother giving up a child that it is not always possible to overcome the damage. Her response to your effort is not about your worthiness but about her emotional wounds.