Saturday, July 28, 2007

Is Reunion Worth It?

I'm really starting to question if trying to reunite with one's first family is even worth the bother.

I've been through 2 years of hell and rejection from my first mother. I've written 8-9 letters in total - pouring my heart out with every word.

I've sat on top of my letter box - hovered around my computer - and jumped every time the phone has rung.

And all I've received from her is one small letter in return.

Yes - given - I've finally had acknowledgment from my father - but how heartbreaking will that relationship be further down the line.

I've been questioning whole heartedly my purpose for wanting some kind of reunion - and trying to weigh up the effects of going through this awful process - on both my sanity - and on my husband and children - that I KNOW truly care and love ME dearly - just the way I am.

Besides my own search and (lack of) reunion - I've heard much lately from my friends in Blogland and on forums about the troubles they have also been facing - and my opinions of these reunions are making me want to literally crawl back into my shell.

Of those (that I have found online) that have found and reunited - in some way - with their first family - including Issycat, Jessie, Nina, Dan, Angel, Dory, Joy, Elizabeth, Nicole, Andie, Deborah, Jane, iBastard, Julie, Rebecca, Rhonda, Ani, Stacy, Gersham and Sarah - there are SO many ups and downs - so many disappointments, so many missed years, so much heartache.

Some are very early in their reunions - some have been reunited for many years.

In the process - many have either been rejected outright by their adoptive parents for just wanting to search - others have kept things hidden - as they know that they'll receive a verbal lashing - and keeping silent is sometimes the only possible way to go.

But throughout there is so much sadness - expressed by all.

YES - we all have different stories - and we are at different places in the journey - but ultimately - the underlying message with a lot of the stories - is the sadness that there will never be that same closeness as what real kids would have had with their real families.

Adoptees tend to just hover in some crazy no-mans-land.

We don't completely belong to our adoptive families - and we will never fully belong to our first families.

And we all have different degrees of fear - a fear of our found families rejecting us once more - and a fear of our adoptive families rejecting us for wanting to know who we are and where we came from.

I'm finding that now I have finally been acknowledged by by father - that no minute do I get one question answered - as two more are waiting in line to be asked.

Will I ever be satisfied with how this will all end???

Does it come down to the fact that my first family will never want me - as much as I want them??

So far - I do feel a great deal of relief in knowing what I have so far found out.
I have names - and I have some geneology.
I have a sister that is so very similar to me - and we have both lived the adoptee experience - so we both KNOW without saying a word - about the insecurities that we both feel.
I have a better sense of ME - as I have now seen others who DO look the same way as me.

BUT - still the secrets and lies of the past hang so thickly in the air. And they hold such a great hold on my mother - that I fear - I will never find what I am looking for there.

To be honest - I don't think that initial wound of separation from my first family - will ever fully go away.

Added: Please go to this blog post - "Questions For My Birth Mother" - so many things here that I have never dared to say. I read it through tears. It is EVERYTHING I have ever dreamt and wanted to say. (thanks Jenna for the heads-up on this one)

UPDATE AGAIN: To add - Prairieguy - at Reflections Of A Foster Youth - who wrote the above post - has just posted two more fabulous posts - JUST what I needed to read right now.

"Why Search For Birth Family?"
- and -
"Was Search For Birth Family Worth It?".

Make sure you add this wonderful voice to your links. I look forward to hearing more.


Blogger suz said...

Possum I have felt and thought the same things only as a mom - only I feel guilty for thinking that. Seems okay for adoptees to say the pain is not worth it but it is not okay for moms. Seems we are supposed to tolerate and accept however badly our children treat us in reunion. I guess cuz thats what moms do. Uncoditional love. I will admit its hard though. The contant roller coaster of emotions, the self doubt, rejection, etc. Many many times I wanted to just tell my daughter to screw off and go on with my life. But then I know from my adoptee friends that is what she expects me to to. To leave her gaain. I dont intend to do that but how to manage all the sadness and rejection? Its not easy. And the reality is, its not HER that I want to get rid of but the pain and torment cuased by her adoption.

Sometimes I envy those that can walk away but I wonder if it really helps with the pain, you know?

28/7/07, 11:48 pm  
Blogger Andie D. said...

I don't think that initial pain ever goes away either.

When I told my hub that I wanted to search for my bdad now, his first reaction was, "Will this help you recover from all of the adoption shit?"

I took a deep breath and told him that this goddamn adoption shit will never go away. It's always been there, and it always will be.

BTW - I love this line because it's so accurate: "Adoptees tend to just hover in some crazy no-mans-land." And unfortunate.

29/7/07, 4:20 am  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I think reunion is worth it in the sense that, hopefully, you can pick and choose. You have your sister, I have my brother. Without reunion we wouldn't have these people in our lives.

I say that I have a "semi-failed" reunion. Parents=assholes, brother and relatives=good.

I know there are people in my family who would love to throw my mother out, but would never do that to me.

At some point though, you have to stop banging your head against the wall. I tortured myself for 2 decades trying to have a relationship with my parents. I can't get those years back. At some point you just have to say enough is enough. It's so hard, so heartbreaking. {{{{Poss}}}}

29/7/07, 7:48 am  
Blogger joy said...

I don't feel like I have a choice, I have pulled back from reunion,, but it has never made it any better.

Yes, being adopted sucks, you are a something else, always.

29/7/07, 7:58 am  
Blogger Kellieandkids said...

I agree, it's very difficult. I found my fmother about 9 years ago and it has been a huge emotional ride for all of us, me, my ffamily and my afamily. The thing is, you never know until you know. Can you be strong enough to get through this no matter what? It's your decision. I hope you figure out what you want and what is important to you!

I would have to say I have a failed reunion because I chose it to be. I couldn't deal with my amother's "explanations" and I really, honestly, just didn't like any of the family. The extended family treated me like I was a stranger and honestly, so did my brothers. No one even called to congratulate me when I had my baby! What a load.

But I don't regret the reunion, just wish they had been different and not so....disappointing, but it is what it is and I love my afamily so much.

29/7/07, 8:15 am  
Blogger Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

I think about what you wrote a lot, about the effects of what I'm doing not only on myself but on my son and stepkids and husband and job. But it's like, I feel I have to try. I don't have a choice. Also, even if I didn't attempt at contact, the effects still go on nevertheless. Adoption is a lifelong trap.

29/7/07, 9:13 am  
Blogger Rockin' Hejabi said...

I searched for medical reasons. I found BOTH my birth father and birth mother in 3 mo's of searching start to finish! We met each other (separately) in the same week in July of 2003. I had a complete psychotic episode a week after reuniting, where I became suicidal in a psychotic rampage and was involuntarily hospitalized for 24 hours!
The biggest shock actually wasn't from meeting my birthparents, but in the complete curve-ball aversive reaction my adopted parents dealt me. I simply wasn't prepared for them to be so totally not ok with me searching and reuniting. Fun fun fun.

29/7/07, 10:22 am  
Blogger Erika said...

Reunion is so huge. I've experienced one reunion in my lifetime and even 7 years in to it we are still trying to get a real relationship.

it comes with it so many expectations and very deep rooted emotions.

even though mine has been crappy at times - i still think it was vital to find my family history and meet my family.

it answered the questions to so many issues in our lives. it filled in the blanks which i kno has helped all of us.

29/7/07, 2:44 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

I was never adopted, but I am a former foster kid.

When I approached my father to forgive him and try to make peace after I aged out of care, he rejected me.

I can still remember his exact words: "Lisa, I'd like to say that I love you - but I don't. Whatever love that I ever had for you has disappeared over the past 10 years and I don't think it's ever coming back."

He continued: "I'd like to say that I love you as a person, but I don't know you very well. So, basically, I don't love you at all."

That conversation took place when I was 19 years old.

What I learned was:
- Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation.
- Forgiveness takes one person and reconciliation takes two.
- I can only make decisions for myself.

I had to decide, on my own, that I was love-worthy and deserved better than his rejection.

And if I had never come to that personal realization of my own worth, I wouldn't be where I am today:

- Married
- Happy
- Stepmom of the two best daughters ever
- Advocating for people in and from foster care

I don't know if this is helpful or not -- but it's what your recent posting made me think of...


PS - By the way, have you heard of this new resource?

30/7/07, 12:47 am  
Anonymous Jessie said...

Gosh Poss...
I know, its so hard, sometimes I wonder, really wonder.
Is reunion worth it? I always have to say yes, but there is no denying the pain. No denying the issues.
No denying the fact that adoption really does just suck!
Then you wonder, when does it end? When do things start looking up? When does it get to that point where you really say, ok, I have everything I need now?

Even when the reunion is good, there is still that wonder. Those questions.
And for every one, there are two more.
For everything that you think you will be happy with, you discover that there really is no cure for that void.
That void within us all that is adoption.

30/7/07, 12:31 pm  
Anonymous justenjoyhim/judy said...

I'm coming at this from an adoptive mom's perspective, of course, and this makes me so sad for you.

We don't completely belong to our adoptive families

-- and with that sentence, I wonder if that has to be true. Is that just the way it is? Is it due to biology or treatment by the family? It's a real question, asking, without judgment, for opinions.

And I wonder -- I want to search for my son's first mother if possible. She did ask to remain anonymous although her name is on the documentation that she left with the orphanage. So we could search for her and see if she's willing to have as open a relationship as we could, with being so far away.

But what I'm wondering with what you're saying and what everyone else is and has been going through -- am I opening him up to hurt?

But what else can I do? It seems like the right thing, if I can reconcile her desire for anonymity.

But this is about you and I'm sorry to hijack this; I really am.

I'm just so very sorry that you're going through this, Poss. I'm so sorry. You are such a loving, giving person and I can't imagine, I just can't imagine being your mom and not rushing over at the first opportunity, at the first contact and just bursting forth with love and happiness that you found me.

I don't get it. I just don't.

I'm not in your shoes; I understand that. But I can feel your pain through your words and I send you loving thoughts over the many miles.

Take care of you,

30/7/07, 11:37 pm  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Adoptees tend to just hover in some crazy no-mans-land.

We don't completely belong to our adoptive families - and we will never fully belong to our first families.

More stuff for me to think about. Thank you.

31/7/07, 9:15 am  
Blogger Possum said...

Suz - I know. Yes - to just get rid of the pain and torment - if only we could. It's so hard. I'm so sad that your daughter is treating you this way. It's either the mum or the adoptee. In so many cases - adoption just wrecks lives.

Andie - yeah - is will always be there. It will never go away. *sigh*

Liz - yeah - I'm wrapped that I have my sister. I truly am. Thanks for reminding me of that. Thanks for being here.

Joy - your reunion always makes me think. I'm glad you're here.

Kellie - thanks for dropping in and commenting - I appreciate you taking the time to tell me your story.

Theresa - YES - adoptees do have to go through the search. It's just something that if we feel it's a time to do - we HAVE to do it. We NEED to know who we are. It just hurts so much at times.

Rockin Hejabi - thanks for dropping in also. I'm sorry you found grief from your a-parents. Sadly it's a very common theme. We are so often not allowed to just be who we are meant to be - or even who we want to be.

Erika - it really does become a balance between the digging up deep rooted emotions - and finding the answers we so long to hear. It's a tough trade.

Lisa - thanks also for you comments. I'm so sad for you for what your father said. But we do have to take responsibility for our own happiness - don't we? No one else will do it. Thank you.

Jessie - the void. Yeah - loving the void - NOT. Thinking of you sweetie. I know you're going through a really tough time. Hugs.

Judy - I must give your comment more thought. Thank you for dropping by - and no - I don't think you're hijacking at all!!
Back to you soon.

Jenna - I'm sure adoptee thoughts must really bite n-mums hard - and that's not what I'm trying to do. I guess we're all just trying to navigate through this sh*t as best we can. And that's all we can really do.

Poss. xxx

31/7/07, 6:34 pm  
Anonymous prairieguy said...

Possum as well as others that may have questions on Is Reunion Worth it? I sent this answer to someone on a forum yesterday and it is also on one of my blog entries...maybe it will be of help to someone:

If you have made the decision to search, please remember these few items of advise:

1. Think about the reasons you want to reunite with your parent, child or sibling.

Remember, they have a family and you may also. You can’t turn the clock back or expect to fill the role that you have not played all these years. You are adults, strangers with genetic ties, coming together to build a relationship. Be realistic about the role that you feel you can play in their life and vice versa.

2. You must go into the reunion with realistic expectancies, not fanciful hopes.

If you make someone out to be perfect, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. People get hurt when they have unrealistic expectations, and those expectancies are dashed. These unrealistic expectancies can set you up for failure. It is not what happens in people’s lives that upsets them, it’s whether or not what happens in their lives is what they expected that upsets them. Don’t allow yourself to think that everything in your life will suddenly be resolved overnight once you reunite, or you will be let down.

3. A reunion is an event, but the relationship is a process that needs time to unfold.

You have to really work to build a relationship and you have to be patient. Start out with the goal of finding something that is comfortable for everybody, and don’t put any pressure on yourself.

Allow a natural evolution of things to take place.

Like all relationships, expect your relationship with the person you have reunited to go up and down. Your best chance for having a good relationship long term is to take it slow and move at a measured pace. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Be patient and let it unfold naturally, so that it will be lasting. You don’t want to do anything that would cause this coming together to separate you again.

5. You may find in the end that a relationship, for many reasons, does not work for you...DO NOT fell obligated because you searched and found that you must develop a relationship...DO NOT fell guilty is this does not transpire!

For those who may be interested....I have other entires on my blog that may be of interest whether you be a first mother, adoptee, adoptive parent or one who has expereienced foster care...feel free to visit:

Hope the comment above aids someone....have a good day!


3/8/07, 12:52 am  
Blogger Nicole said...

It just hurts. That is all I can hurts the heart and soul so much. Mother or child, the pain is deep and so real.
I luv your posts Possum, I value everything you say.

7/8/07, 5:59 pm  
Blogger BethGo said...

Today I have to say NO it's not worth it. But I might feel differently tomorrow.

28/8/07, 7:40 am  

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