Thursday, June 01, 2006


Contact made with birth family! Has gone shockingly well. So far. Elderly birth mother ecstatic. Half-sister weepy and welcoming. Other birth relatives also amazingly receptive. So far. Keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just hope it's a sandal and not Doc Martin.

Was not prepared for the crushing sadness after lengthy phone chat with original mother. I am so like her. Not our voices. The way we look at the world. Our vocabulary. The way we start talking about one thing and connect to another, zig zagging our way through conversations. Enormous relief. She is elderly but does not have dementia like my adoptive parents. She is sharp and a tough cookie. She does not have all those qualities that I find so annoying in my adoptive family.

This I could have had! Well, that and a tougher life to be sure. But how much worse? Worse than living with a family where I didn't fit in? Where the desire for a college education away from home was considered a betrayal that resulted in being financially cut-off at 17? My adoptive parents never picked up a book in their lives. They mocked me for wanting a higher education. Only to learn that my birth mother places enormous value on education. In fact, at the time of my relinquishment, was told by the social worker that I would receive a wonderful education. My birth mother was shocked to learn otherwise. In fact, she was shocked to hear that I had been adopted by a Mexican family and not a rich white one, as had been implied by the social worker in the closed adoption system. It's all coming back to my birth mother. What the social worker had promised. The false reassurances.

I am angry. But at whom? At my birth mother for failing to hold on to me, despite her tough circumstances? She was, after all, an adult and not a befuddled teenager. At the county adoption bureau for placing me with people who would turn out to be bad parents? My dad has always appeared, even at best, extremely odd to people. How could someone like him have passed muster? He with his non-stop self-absorbed chatter and out-there neediness? I know I'm mad at my adoptive parents. The good adoptee has finally turned into the angry adoptee. THAT at least is a production emotion. Much better than it's suppressed counterpart...Depression.

They are all out there. All those birth relatives with whom I bear a striking resemblance. Just miles from where I grew up in my adoptive family, in not much better circumstances. Oh, and one more thing about talking with long lost birth relatives. The little things hurt. Learning that my half-sister is also a mystery novel fanatic practically did me in. A small fact like that.

Adoption really is the ultimate crap shoot. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.


Blogger Joy said...

Wow! congratulations.

I found early reunion sooooo overwhelming, but I hadn't processed anything before then, I wasn't ready.
But the grief was really tough. After years of feeling like an odd-ball in my afamily, to realize that I come from a long line of oddballs--it was hard.

Good luck


7:12 PM  

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