So, this is my first time coming to this forum. I was adopted at birth, my adopted family (who I will just call my family, mom, dad) were very open about my adoption. I won't say that it didn't have an impact on me (especially because I am black and they are not) but I didn't have a negative association with adoption and because they were open I didn't have any hurt or anger toward my birth family. As a child, I fantasized about meeting my birth mother as like idle curiosity. However, I didn't pursue it much more than google searches.
Then, my birth mother reached out to me a couple years ago. At first, I was excited. However, the more we spoke, the more I felt like she was being too intense with our relationship and everything was going too fast. I stopped communicating as much because, to be honest, I am at a point in my life where I feel safe and happy. And I don't want to complicate that more by letting someone else in who seems like they have a lot of problems that I feel like they are kind of putting onto me. Now, she wants me to reach out to my birth sister who understandably REALLY WANTS TO TALK TO ME. And both of them want to be a family. Ans I'm just not invested in this at all. And I feel really guilty. I feel bad because I just haven't been responding but the idea of putting so much energy into a relationship where it seems like people have already built up this idea of me in their head...just seems overwhelming. I worked really hard to get my life to feel stable and I feel very wary about adding factors into my life that might make it become chaotic again.
Hi Sarah. In some ways my story is similar to yours. I was adopted at birth. My white parents were honest and told me I was adopted. They were dishonest in that they told me I was born white, but medication made my skin darker and my hair nappy. I can pass, so I didn't didn't argue much. But I never fit in. I wanted to find my birth parents, but Mom repeatedly forbid me from searching "until she was dead"
I also worked to make a stable life. I felt comfortable enough with adoption that I adopted 2 biracial children. I told my kids they were adopted, and shared pictures of their biological parents. When my daughter was 12, she saw her birthmother on the news. Her birthmother was crying because her home was destroyed by fire. My daughter was worried about her homeless birthmother and went into a depression. So we arranged a meeting. When I witnessed the joy and relief the birthmother felt at seeing how our daughter was turning out, I realized my birthmother may be out there longing to know how I turned out. I decided to search for my birthmother for her sake, not mine.
By this time my Mom was nearing the end of her life. Mom agreed to give me my adoption paperwork which had my birthmother's name. I found her the next day living just 20 miles away. She never married and had no other kids. Contacting my birthmother brought her more happiness than I could ever imagine. In one day she gained a son who is a doctor, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.
I understand how you feel. I have my own family, career, friends and obligations. My life is balanced, so I didn't want to lose that stability. Therefore I have established solid boundaries for this new relationship with my birthmother. We visit her occasionally, mostly birthdays and holidays. We talk by email or text about once a week. If your biological family wants a relationship with you, be clear that they must abide by your rules. I hope this helps you. Sincerely
Dr. Michael Bauer, bi-racial adoptee and adoptive father.
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