When I received my non-Identifying information, the adoption agency shared that in my file they had discovered my baby bracelets from the hospital! Unfortunately, they stated that I could not have them because it had an identifying name on them, and they did not have permission to release that information. I wanted them. Why should they have to sit in a file forever, they do not belong to the adoption agency.
Once I found my birthmother, I asked her if she would be willing to sign a release so that I could have this keepsake. She was willing without hesitation. When she called the adoption agency, they immediately assumed that they had made the contact for me. When she told them that I had made the contact their response was, “That’s unfortunate.”
Not, how wonderful you have found each other, or congratulations; just “’that’s unfortunate.” Really? Why was that their reaction? Because I didn’t follow the process they wanted. I didn’t let them be in control. I didn’t give them the chance to be the mediator, or the hero. Though they offer the service, it didn’t seem like they were very fond of reunion.
The more I read and learn about adoption and perspectives from all sides of the adoption triad- adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents- the more my list grows of things that are actually unfortunate.
*It’s unfortunate that my birthmother was not treated well by the caseworkers and was encouraged not to hold me after I was born. I imagine they were maybe afraid of the bond that might occur, maybe their plan would fall through. She held me anyway, because you can’t really say goodbye until you say hello and you can’t properly grieve.
*It’s unfortunate that a caseworker told my adopted mom that my birthmother never held me or saw me, maybe thinking it would help her to better bond with me; but it left me with a life long hurt that turned out to be a lie. Imagine not only being told your mom didn’t want you, but that she didn’t even say goodbye. A horrible, painful lie.
*It’s unfortunate when people can’t wrap their minds around the fact that I’m not out seeking to replace my family, or even that I have to choose one over the other. One of the best things that I read while I was preparing for reunion was the fact that parents are never questioned in their abiilty to equally love as many children as they may have; so why do adopted children have to choose? Our hearts are infinitely capable of love.
*It’s unfortunate that I would have to pay $460 if I want to go through the proper procedures and pay the adoption agency to open up my file, try to find my birthmother, and ask her if it’s OK to give out her information. My life is my life. It should not cost a dime, and I should not need permission to have it. When you already have your past, you can’t imagine what it’s like to be clueless. It’s a piece of your soul, a hole, a void that cannot be filled until you know.
*it’s unfortunate that adoptees are continually denied the first chapter of their life because of laws that were created to protect adoptive parents. Now that adoptees want their original birth certificates lawmakers and adoption advocates are claiming that it would be violating the privacy of the birth parents. Give me a break. States that already allow OBC access have shown that only about 1% of birthparents want to actually keep their privacy.
*It’s unfortunate that many adoptees are made to feel guilty about searching for their birth family. All of the things said out loud to them (such as: what will your parents think, what if your birth family doesn’t want to be found, shouldn’t you just be grateful) are things they have already wrestled with, so the fact that they have overcome and are still desiring to search shows their determination. Making an adoptee feel guilty about searching is one of the best ways to push them further away, not keep them loyal. There is a desire in many adoptees that does not simply fade away. Many adoptees wait until their adopted parents are gone to avoid the questions, only to find out that its’ now too late.
*It’s unfortunate that adoptees are not able to grieve the significant loss they feel of losing their first family, no matter their age at adoption. They are expected to be grateful that they weren’t aborted and that they were saved by this loving family and now can have a better life. No matter what kind of life the adoptee now has, let them grieve. And don’t assume it is a better life, some adoptees go through horrible trauma in their new home.
*It’s unfortunate that laws and adoption agencies feel the need to babysit relationships between adults. Do some reunions work out? Absolutely. Are reunions hard? Without a doubt. Do some reunions end before they begin? Yes. Are there some birth mothers who wish to never be found? Unfortunately. But we are not children anymore. We have a right to our history. And we would much rather know- even if it’s negative- then to live our lives in the dark.
Finding my birthmother has been the opposite of unfortunate. It has filled a void I have always had, yet never been able to express. It has taken me on a journey to find who I am, and who I want to be. It has given me a passion to help other adoptees as we walk this road together.
*Thank you to all of you have been so supportive of my search and reunion process and for being willing to come alongside me and understand what it really means to be adopted. I am forever grateful.