Meeting My Birth Family: Hide or Seek
A woman wrestles with the idea of meeting her birth family for the first time in person
Of course, we didn’t talk about retrievers. In fact, that first conversation with my birth mom may have been the only time they were mentioned. The initial shock of having found her, and so quickly, had me temporarily addle-brained, but with subsequent days and conversations, we became phone and e-mail friends. She went out of her comfort zone to learn how to use her computer so she could write me, but preferred phone conversations. It was only about a week before she began asking when we were going to be able to meet. Until her open door invitation, I thought I was ready.
Not only did I have a full time teaching job, it was my busiest ‘season’ as choir director for our church. From January until Easter, we began planning, set building and painting, script and music memorizations, and doubled up on rehearsals. We used week-end services to introduce pieces that would be used in the annual Resurrection production. It was a huge endeavor as over a hundred people lent hands in one way or another. It was a crazy, unifying, and beautiful time for our congregation and a terrible time to try to break away. But I found I was relieved to have the excuse to delay our reunion, and that shook me a little.
Outwardly strong and courageous, I had to admit to myself and God that I was afraid of what I’d encounter. No, not that. I was afraid more, much more, of what she would encounter. Would I measure up to her dreams and expectations? I had grown up with a sense of not measuring up to my adoptive mother’s expectations. I just couldn’t conform…didn’t have the slightest idea how. I was so different than my sisters, her children by blood. But they were very different from each other as well and told me in my older years that she had been the same with me as she had with them. This was not really a matter of adopted or not adopted, it was more a matter of my mother attempting to be good at what she was doing. Pressures on housewives of that time were unbelievably large…I believe it was the time when ‘Mommy’s Little Helpers’ (ie”Valium”) came into play.
Was I ready to take the risk of being stared at by family members and friends (there were many), measured and possibly rejected by my birth mother? Oh, did I really want this as much as I had thought? But repeatedly, that urging returned, the same as the one that nudged me towards the search. I knew I had to trust God and follow through with this. She needed this as much as I did. But none of this kept the lump at the base of my neck from forming every time I thought of it, which was often because in all our conversations, she reminded me.
We set a date. I promised to visit after the production. My husband would go with me; it would have been so much more difficult without him, but I know I would have gone, regardless. I dove into my work at school and church. Being super busy helped to keep me from fretting over this huge thing on the horizon.
The production was beyond successful, it was standing room only with God, Himself, chiming in the first night by sending an actual thunder and lightning storm- a backdrop to Jesus hanging on the Cross. At the end of the last performance, the choir, cast, light, sound, and behind the scenes workers surprised me with a beautiful gift- an envelope of well-wishes and enough money to cover the entire trip. It was the most beautiful gift I had ever received from people outside my family. Now I knew I had their prayers and back-up if things went awry…and more than ever; I wanted to be able to give them a good report upon my return.
There were so many reasons not to screw this up. I wanted to run to meet her…And I wanted to run and hide.
Current posts tell the chronological story of Cindy’s search. (Names, places changed for family privacy.) Get up to date by clicking here, then read the posts in order, beginning at the bottom of the page. It is the author’s hope that readers find encouragement, inspiration and knowledge for their own journey.
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr