Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Irony of Reunion

Why is it that the scars we bear from our adoption make reunion even harder?

It seems most of us adoptees, despite our different experiences with our adoptive families and difference in temperament and disposition, have many of the same issues: fear of abandonment, a wobbly sense of self, feeling like we don't fit in anywhere, anxiety, depression? Just to name a few.

Was catching up on adoptee blogs. Some are going through a tough time with their first mothers. I can sympathize. Totally.

To heal, we need to search for our first families. Or at least get as much information as we can. But the VERY ISSUES THAT STEM FROM BEING ADOPTED CAN MAKE REUNION DAMNED HARD.

We want to get to know and get along with our first mother, but we fear abandonment. Not a good mix.

With a wobby sense of self, it's easy to get emeshed, especially with such a powerful figure.

Suddenly presented with two families, some of us find we don't fit into either, only adding to our feelings of alienation.

And as nerve wrecking as reunion is, the ups and downs of it all can add to our ever present anxiety.

But many of us want to search and find our families. Need to. But it's like somebody strapped a backpack of explosives on us and pushed us out the door and said, "Go ahead, I dare you to find your first family. See what happens."

And we toddle ahead...dupety, dupety, do. Then, Bang!

Well, of course we survive. The pieces may be all scrambled up. We may look like one of those figures in a Picasso painting until we can reassemble ourselves. And in the end, it's more worth it than not.

But wearing that backpack while tiptoeing through the minefield of Reunion is a BITCH.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Jeanne said...

Nina, you are so right about needing to find our first families. I did and it was awful. My birth mom is a recluse, half sister is mentally challenged or on drugs or both. They each rejected me and said they do not wish to have a relationship with me. Ouch.

At first I was so angry and hurt. At the same time I stopped speaking with my NPD adopted mother so I could wallow full time in my self pity.

Now, though, I'm coping with it and grieving in a healthier way. Still not speaking to NPD mom and that's for the best. I am thankful that I was not raised by my birth mother and equally thankful that I am not biologically related to my adopted mother. There is justice in this life after all.

Nina, thank you so much for sharing your life and your thoughts on adoption and living with someone like your dad. There is so much that is familiar here! I am sorry for your pain but know that I feel comforted by your words.

Jeanne, fellow adoptee and mom in Santa Rosa

11:57 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Jeanne!

Was FLABBERGASTED when I read your comment. Thank you so much for reading, BTW! I simply can't believe the number of us adoptees who ended up with narcissistic a-parent(s). And I don't use that term loosely. But it seems that the two seem linked closely. Not sure if it mirrors what goes on in biological families or if there is a higher incidence...something about the characteristic of someone desperate for a child. But it baffles me. Just FYI, I paid top dollar to see a psychologist who specializes in narcissistic parents and I asked him how most of his clients handle their n-parent and he said, "the healthy ones sever contact." So it sounds like you made a VERY healthy choice. I'm very sorry to hear that about your first mom and sister. Even though it probably would be a lousy, one-way relationship with you doing the heaving lifting. Still, it's very disappointing. Considering the raw placement deal you were dealt, I think it's TOTALLY understandable why one would hope for at least ONE reciprocal relationship. And isn't that what mother's are for? Well, okay, not OUR mothers. Not mine, either, BTW. So glad to hear from you.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Lillie said...

My backpack is getting way too heavy, I wish I could take it off.

But good or bad, I'm glad I went through the reunion. At least I understand myself now, because I know where I came from, and that's empowering.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Lillie, I feel EXACTLY the way you do. I proved I was born. I could do - in my forties - what I SHOULD have been able to do growing up: form an identity based on reality.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous mia said...

I have no regrets about searching either even after being rejected. I truly believe it is the search itself that is so empowering.

5:57 AM  
Blogger joy said...

early reunion is just a memory for me now, thank God, not a pleasant memory at all.


I love your blog so much.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Celera said...

Nina, that's an interesting comment about the frequency of NPD in adoptive parents. I don't know that NPD was exactly my amom's problem, but it was similar in many respects. My first husband has NPD, and at least two other people in my life -- I thought this was just some sort of karma that draws these people to me.

Jeanne, I'm so sad to hear of the really tough road you have had to travel. I hope there are people in your life who can give you the support and love that we are all entitled to, even if neither of your mothers is able to provide that.

3:53 PM  
Blogger T. A. Brown said...

Nina,

I am a reunited birth mom and all I can say is, never never ever give up. Here is a song I wrote for adoptees such as yourself when my birth daughter was only 15 and I couldn't stop thinking about her, especially every year when her upcoming birthday approached. Reunions are an up and down thing for both the birth mom and the adoptee. But any family relationship has it's ups and downs and forgiveness and love always win in the end.
Child I Cannot Claim

Best wishes,
Teri
www.AdoptionRecords.com

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