Reunification was a pretty scary word for me the first few years after adopting Bryan. After eight months of living in our foster care with the intention to adopt, Guam’s Social Service Department had determined it was in Bryan’s best interest to place him in a family with similar skin color. Securing his adoption was nearly a two-year struggle, and I turned into a possessive, protective, jealous mother. As the adoption papers were signed, we were told that the birth mother had seven years to change her mind. SEVEN YEARS!
Adoption was never a secret in our family. But as any adoptive parent will tell you, it didn’t matter that Bryan came to us through another woman–he was one of our children just like those I birthed. No difference. From the time Bryan could understand adoption, he was aware of our gratitude to and for his birth mother. He knew that his birth mother was unselfish and loving and wanted the best for him. And at the proper age, we told him that when he was ready and had the desire, we would help him find his birth mother.
All of us knew that time would come. For a lot of years, I dreaded it. I was afraid of it. I knew that was irrational thinking, but my feelings were what they were. It wasn’t until our oldest child got married that I was able to start to understand my feelings. When Trevor got married, from even before the wedding, he called his wife’s parents “Mom” and “Dad.” What?!? How could it flow so easily? Did they really feel like parents to him? Or was it just a courtesy to his wife? Why wasn’t I just thrilled that his in-law situation was so good? How could I possibly be jealous of his new relationship?
Sure, I knew his wife was now #1 in his life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But her parents? His new mom and dad? Of course I never voiced my reticence at his total immersion into their family. And it really didn’t take long for me to find that my relationship with Trevor never changed. He could have a hundred people in his life that he called Mom, if he wanted, and it wouldn’t touch our relationship.
It was so good for me to be placed in situations with other children forging solid family relationships separate from me while Bryan was still young. I learned that true, unselfish parental love actually wants as many tender and strong relationships for a child as possible. Unselfish parental love is not jealous.
Well, the time did come. When we found Bryan’s birth mother, it was something I actually wanted. I had thought I just wanted it for Bryan, but was shocked to find that my whole soul blossomed with her joining our lives. For all those years, I thought finding Bryan’s birth mother would be a gift I would give to her and to him. I had no idea that, in giving to them, I was also being blessed.