I was reading some thoughts by an adoptee (Elizabeth Casalaspro) in her blog LINK>A Roller Coaster Ride on the subject of forgiveness but for me it echoed my experience related to reunions. She says “Adoptees do not choose to be adopted. They still have the desire to ‘know’ where they come from. Most adoptees mean well and have a burning desire to learn about their biological family. Most adoptees just want answers.” My mom certainly had that but was blocked by the obstacle of a sealed adoption record.
When she died, I wanted to somehow fulfill her wish. My mom had a brother who had been adopted from the same agency. One of his daughters called me one day to tell me she had been able to get her father’s adoption record, that it had many pages and didn’t cost all that much – still it cost more than I could afford to spend at that time but at least I knew I could get some answers. Eventually, I did have that much disposable money to do it and in the Autumn of 2017, I received her adoption file and what a revelation it was.
I didn’t think of it as a burning desire but somehow, once that fuse that connected me to the truth of my origins was lit, it simply propelled me along. Certainly, I did have some encouragement to keep going into my dad’s origins from my nephews. The entire journey I had the support of my husband to learn my own truths.
It is a rather odd place that I have now arrived at. I do feel “whole” in ways I did not for 6 decades of my life. I know from whom and geographically where I come from and though it leaves me in a rather awkward uncomfortable place regarding “my family” I am grateful for what I now know. I am still processing this 6 years later. There is the “family” I grew up “knowing” and the “family” I do not share memories with – except for one who I spent an afternoon with and was given the history of those long years on my mom’s paternal side. And there is a cousin I’ve not met in person but who was supportive and provided me with many pictures that fill in some of the gaps of my father’s family history.
Adoption will never and can never feel organically normal. Most children grow up with the parents who conceived them, as I did. Adoptees are transplanted humans. Transplant rejection and other serious complications can and do occur. Adoptive parents have the challenge of matching their adoptee’s needs and there is an unavoidable stress in creating a relationship with a non-related person. Characteristics may not match up well enough to result in happiness for the people impacted.
Elizabeth may have been on the best track by acknowledging a need to forgive, quite generally, so much.