This is good stuff . . . stuff that I wish I’d have considered for the past two or three years.
We adopted our son over 20 years ago. I freely admit to being selfish and jealous and thrilled that our adoption was a closed one. I know–please don’t judge me. Not only is it closed-minded and selfish, but it also veers far from the popular way of thinking in the adoption world. I realize that–but it is what it is.
Well, long story short, I emerged from my tight, selfish cocoon and helped our son find his birth mother. At first, my concern was that our son may get hurt. What if she didn’t want contact with him? What would that do to his heart? Plenty of good talks with him convinced us that he would be fine. He had two desires: 1. to thank her, and 2. to find out about his heritage. Beyond that, he needed nothing else.
So the search began. Over the process of a couple of years, I tried to put myself in her place as we searched: What if she had a family and had never told them about this first child? What if she held resentment toward him? What if she had actually been searching his whole life for him and we could finally bring her peace?
That was about the extent of my considerations. Well, we found her! And she wants contact with him. He was not hurt in the ways I feared he would be. He has been able to thank her, and he now knows more than we could have imagined about his ancestry. Great, right? Hold on…
Here’s what I wish I would have considered: It turns out that he’s definitely the strong one in the relationship. He’s feeling the weight of making things right for her. Non-stop daily texts and emails are usurping his physical and emotional time. Her insecurity and regular statements about how horrible her life is tax him. Tough load to carry! And for her? She’s told him that contact with him reminds her every day about her past–and her past was painful. She had found a semblance of happiness as she worked to move on with her life, but now she is jeopardizing all of it with her obsession over him.
Reunification has confused her–she thinks she should feel peace, but instead her life is turned upside down.
Would we do it again? If we would have considered all these things that I now know, would it have made a difference? Probably. But we don’t know the end of the story. Perhaps in time she will make peace with herself and move on again. Perhaps we will all be better for being in each others’ lives. We’ll see.