5 Things Adoption Reunion Taught Me About Myself

Adoption reunion provided a great opportunity for me to reflect on my life and find ways to become happier.

Tom Andriola October 07, 2016

I’m big on self-reflection. I feel like I can always be learning more about myself and finding ways to improve. For me, adoption reunion provided a big opportunity for this kind of reflection. I learned many lessons and have used them to grow.

My reunion with my birth mother was positive—it wasn’t my fantasy reunion, but it was positive. Meeting my biological father was tense. He was in denial about being the guy, and he didn’t want to pursue a relationship. With my three half-siblings on his side, I basically got the cold shoulder. They wanted nothing to do with me. I’ve read reunion stories that sound amazing. That wasn’t my experience. But I certainly learned a lot about myself in the process.

It’s not always about me!
1. It’s not always about me!

One of the biggest things I learned is that it’s not always about me! My birth parents didn’t plan for me, they didn’t plan to be together in a long-term relationship, and my arrival was simply a burden. But nobody – and I mean nobody – chooses the set of circumstances under which they are born. Two married parents wanted them, they were the result of a one-night stand, they were born rich, poor, black, white, male, female – nobody chooses. It’s not just about them, and I have come close to reconciling that it was not just about me – close, but not all the way.

I can't control every situation.
2. I can't control every situation.

I wish I had more control over my situation than I actually do. The plain fact is I can’t force my biological parents or half-siblings to want to develop relationships of any significance with me. And that’s OK. It has taken me a long time to accept that fact, especially with my half-siblings, but I have been able to really let go and accept the fact that I really can’t control the situation.

The feeling isn't always mutual.
3. The feeling isn't always mutual.

When I found out that I had three half-siblings as I was in the midst of my search, I was ecstatic! "I can’t wait to meet them," I would think. We would hang out all the time, our kids would become close, and it would be great! But it was a real dose of reality when I finally reached out and received an angry reaction from one and silence from the other two. It’s been hard to reconcile for me, but they don’t want to hang out, they don’t want to know me. The feeling just isn’t mutual.

Don't take everything personally.
4. Don't take everything personally.

Rejection is tough. Nobody likes it. Why would they? On my biological father’s side, I have experienced a lot of rejection. He didn’t acknowledge his role in my birth at first, and though he eventually softened his stance, he didn’t want to pursue a relationship. My half-siblings had a lot of misplaced anger, as if I was one who perhaps caused their father to cheat on their mother? Who knows? But I have learned not to take it personally. They are just hurt, and I am the symbol they want to project that at.

Surround yourself with those who want to be around you!
5. Surround yourself with those who want to be around you!

Many adoptees, like myself, yearn for that blood connection. They are curious. They fantasize about an amazing reunion. But the reality is it’s very rare for it to turn out that way. I’ve learned through the process that it’s okay to be curious, but there’s no reason to try to force yourself on anyone. So now I just try to surround myself with those who want to be around me. Life ends up being much more fun that way!

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.

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