Monday, May 17, 2010

Knowing the Truth of One's Origins When the Truth is Not Pretty

Trying to avoid adoption these days? Best to keep the TV off. The adoption story of the evening on Friday came on ABC's 20/20. It was an hour-long interview with the (birth) daughter of a woman who tried to kill her three other children by shooting them, succeeding with one, in order to be more acceptable to her married lover who did not want children. While out on bail awaiting trial, she became pregnant by another man to appear to be a woman who loved children when she was on trial. She was very visibly pregnant during her 1985 trial. Talk about a screwed up situation, and a perversely crazy mother, leading to a birth, this is it.

After one of the surviving children testified in court that her mother, Diane Downs, shot her and her two siblings on a dark road in the spring of 1983, Diane Downs was found guilty and given a life sentence plus 50 years. (Small Sacrifices, by former cop and true crime writer Ann Rule, tells the story of the murder and trial--and more--in detail.) Ten days before sentencing in 1985, labor was induced and the child was taken from Downs almost immediately and adopted by a couple twenty-five miles away, Jackie and Chris Babock, who already had one adopted daughter.

When Rebecca was three, Downs escaped from prison, and the Babcocks were advised to tell her baby-sitter and nursery school teacher to be vigilant, in case Downs showed up and tried to take her. That did not happen--Downs was found ten days later--but the story was out there now, and could not be put back in the bottle. When she was an adolescent, Becky, as she is called, tricked her baby-sitter into telling her more details about her mother by pretending she already knew them.

In her teens, Becky got into hard drugs and hard partying. Her older sister, Jennie, had already gone that route, and Becky took to following Jennie to parties, where she began experimenting with pot and meth and dating older men. When she was 16, she saw the movie--Small Sacrifices with Farah Fawcett at her best--about the spectacular case--and that led to more years of the same. As the story unfolds in the current issue of Glamour magazine:
She lurched from boyfriend to boyfriend, hoping one could prove to her that she was lovable. “In some ways my genetics are what I feel kept me from really caring about right from wrong,” says Becky. “I had plenty of ‘normal’ friends who did normal things. I chose to be destructive. Deep inside me was the blood of Diane. My addictions mimicked Diane’s in the way of men—like Diane, I lived for the attention.”
When she was seventeen, she got pregnant; she had broken up with the father by the time her son was born on 2002. Three more years of partying, men and job changes followed. From Glamour again:
“A part of me wishes I had never known [that Diane is my mother],” says Becky. “But the other part of me knows that if I never knew, I would not understand why I did the things I did.” She took some comfort in the idea that she could never be capable of Diane’s violence: “She committed the ultimate crime—she killed her child,” says Becky. “I tried to understand one day how she could have done that; it made me physically sick.”
                                                                                  from Glamour
Rebecca BabcockWhen Christian was three, Becky got pregnant again. Laid off from her job and struggling to support herself and her son, she decided to put the new baby up for adoption. “I remember holding him in my arms seconds after he was born and realizing I had to hand him to a family I had only met twice,” says Becky. “I thought that since I was adopted it wouldn’t be so hard for me to put my son up for adoption, but afterward I was completely lost. It made me think about Diane. I knew the hurt I felt, and I wondered if she felt it too.” Years earlier one of Becky’s boyfriends, bizarrely fixated on the case, had gotten Diane’s prison address. Becky had refused to contact Diane then, but now found the address and wrote to her birth mother.
As might be expected, that "reunion," which never took place face to face, did not turn out so well, as Downs is a delusional sociopath. Long, rambling letters ensued until Becky cut them off. More partying. She continued to have a series of dead-end jobs until the night after she and co-workers had gone out drinking after work and one of her bosses at an auto dealership lot forced her to have sex with him in the parking lot in order to keep her job. That was her low point of her life, she says, but it was also when Becky turned her life around. She filed a sexual  harassment suit and with the money from that used it to pay off her debts--and went back to school:
The first semester was awkward and scary, but when I didn’t want to go to school one day, I remembered how I felt when I handed my baby to strangers, and I remembered the life I had lived and how I would be devastated if my son followed in my footsteps. And I’ve kept going.”
Now she has dreams of being a doctor. At the time the story was published, she had reached out to her two half-siblings, but had not met them yet. She may never know who her biological father is--20/20 has her mother, Downs, who was a postal worker, showing up at the house of a man she knew would be alone with whiskey and a willing body, but so far no one has come forward.

Her decision to tell her story publicly, Becky says in Glamour, has to do with helping other individuals dealing with  realities of birth that are not particularly comforting or pleasant:
“Until I saw my adopted birth certificate last year, there was still a tiny bit of hope that I was wrong and she wasn’t my birth mother,” says Becky. “But I’m confident that nurture has overcome nature, and even though her blood is in my veins, I am not capable of doing such evil things. I hope this story will help people who have the same stigma. Whether they came from a monster or were even raised by a monster—a murderer, molester, someone who beat them, a thief—that does not define who they are as an individual. Their parent’s mistake does not have to become their story. Each person holds her own pen and paper and can write her own story. People should never let anyone tell them different.” 
I'm writing about this story here because it does present one of those cases of: Do you really want to know? The truth? It could be awful. Because in this case, it is quite terrible. But knowing it gives something for Becky to deal with realistically, with open eyes. On 20/20, she is forthright and articulate, a young mother and a dean's list student, a long way from a slatternly lifestyle.

However, none of the stories reveal how her older sister, Jennie, turned out. Did she ever stop her hard-partying life and straighten out? I wanted to know. Remember, she was also adopted. And as this story unfolds in Oregon, so she also would have the right to her unamended, original birth certificate, which would contain the real names of her actual, biological parents. (Sometimes writing this blog I feel as if we have to get twisted into pedagogical pretzels to not offend anyone--and still use words that people--birth parent, birth daughter, natural parents, etc.--searching for us on the web allow them to find us. Please bear with us.)

Several other points caught my attention. One, Becky also gave up a child for adoption, repeating the adoption cycle in what seems to me an endless chain of stories of adoptions that follow being adopted. Does that child need to know whence he came? Do his parents? That is left unanswered. And how many adoptees repeat the cycle of adoption? Practically nothing makes me crazier than worrying about this: separation and pain passed on through generations.

When I testified in a court case once for a group of adoptees in New Jersey seeking their original birth certificates, I came across one of the adoptees in the ladies room bawling her eyes out. It's what you said, she said about always wanting to know what happened to your child...I'm adopted and I gave up a child for adoption too.... I was stunned--how much pain could one person handle?--but I have come to know this is all too common. Though this issue has been discussed in books about adoptees, one longs for some hard numbers, but there is no one collecting them; and we have seen how loaded it is to even ask parents on the census form if their children are adopted or biologically related to them.

Of course, asking adoptees about this would be different; if they could be surveyed in any scientific manner. Jean Strauss, author of Birthright and Beneath a Tall Tree, discovered that she was a third-generation adoptee. My daughter also gave up a daughter for adoption, and despite my urging, would not agree seek out an open adoption. Her adoptive parents who were plenty involved in this birth were not interested in guiding our daughter that way. They have no interest in the "granddaughter" who is not related to them. I did and do, and we have reunited, and I look forward to meeting her this summer. 

Another point I want to make is that this is a case where surely the daughter, Becky, needed to be adopted. All the accounts indicate her parents are good people who raised a daughter that ultimately was able to get her life on track. We are often accused of being anti-adoption; we are anti-adoption only as it is practiced in most parts of the country--where the original birth records are sealed and love is supposed to make up for everything that is missing, such as an identity that preceded being adopted. We are not against parents giving loving  homes to children; we are against, however, creating children merely to fill a void in someone's life. Children should not be commodities that can be ordered up because someone has enough money to do to.

In some ways, both Becky and her sister, as well as the other siblings, who were also adopted are fortunate, in one way, as they were adopted in Oregon, where this all transpired, because there anyone over the age of eighteen is able to get a copy of their original birth certificate. Oregon is one of the six states where it is possible to get one's original birth certificate without caveats of any sort.

I do not speak from the place of someone who was adopted; I know the fear of being rejected--as a relinquishing birth mother, I was afraid when I reached out to my daughter--but I can not know the feelings of someone who has, deep within them, a sense of abandonment that comes from being given up, by someone, at some place, for some reason. I can not know the fear of searching that sense of being abandoned, acknowledged or not, must give rise to. But no matter what one finds, or who, the urge to know the truth of one's origins--no matter what they are--comes from an innate longing to know, fully and completely, who one was at birth. On the side of the blog is a comment from the Find My Family website, no gone but I've kept it there because it is poignant, so true: Everybody wants to know where they come from, even if it doesn't turn out like you wanted it.

It is my conviction that those who do not search have their natural inclination to know the truth of their origins subverted by societal pressure to be a "good" adoptee who is not curious. This lack of curiosity about one's roots then sends a potent message that a stable, good family is plenty enough, that one's actual, biological, first, real parents matter little, that one's true heritage is not important.

At the same time, society everywhere sends the message the quite the opposite is true. Genology sites and TV shows refuting that notion proliferate. Yet just as we birth mothers were brain-washed into believing our child's only good future lie in giving them up, so too have many adoptees been lured into believing that wanting to know the truth of their origins diminishes the proof of their love for their adoptive parents. Hence, many adopted people do not begin to search until their adoptive parents are dead; by then, however, it may be too late to find their birth parents.

Yet only when enough adoptees--by the hundreds of thousands storming state legislatures--turn this falsehood of disinterest in one's roots on its head and demand to know the answer to the question the rest of us have never had to wrestle with will we have true reform. Adoption agencies and lobby groups such as the National Council for Adoption actively resist these reforms that would benefit adult adoptees. But NCFA and its band of mischief-making adoption agencies will lose in the end because they are wrong. They will lose because right will eventually succeed. Reform is decades overdue. It can not come soon enough. --lorraine
__________________________________________
Jane here: A couple of other twists to the Diane Downs story. Another young woman carries Diane's DNA although she may not realize it. According to Ann Rule's book, Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder (Signet),Diane was a surrogate mother for an infertile woman, artificially inseminated with the husband's sperm. Diane and the couple were strangers, connecting through a fertility lawyer. Diane passed a psyche exam.

Diane's two children who survived the shooting were seriously disabled and adopted by the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.

26 comments :

  1. "It is my conviction that those who do not search have their natural inclination to know the truth of their origins subverted by societal pressure to be a "good" adoptee who is not curious."

    Or it could just be that maybe - just maybe - some aren't interested enough to bother searching.

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  2. Brilliant post Lorraine. Brilliant. Thank you for your words.

    As an adoptee who searched and found a...well, less than ideal situation I can say that yes, sometimes the truth hurts and hurts bad. However, the "not knowing" is a thousand times worse, no, make that a million times worse. I've said this before, but the only reason I am able to be the mother, wife and friend that I am today is because I know who I am (really am) and where I came from.

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  3. Mei Ling, with all due respect, I do not buy that theory. So many adoptees say they are "not interested" in finding their birth mothers but then go on to search.

    As Jane wrote in an earlier post about how we first/birth mothers were thoroughly convinced, that is, we Believed, that our children would have better lives with two parents and we were unfit parents. But for most of us that turned out to be a fiction that simply fit neatly into the times of the day.

    And isn't it interesting how many adopted individuals decide that indeed they are curious about their roots and first mother and father...after their adoptive parents die?

    "In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness." - Alex Haley

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  4. What about the adoptees whose adoptive parents have died and then they still refuse to search and say they are content enough with what they have?

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  5. Mei Ling, I feel sorry for them to so have their bitterness and sense of abandonment take over their lives.

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  6. Mei Ling -- of course, I can't speak for all adoptees... the adoptees that I know who won't search is for one common reason -- fear. So many adoptees are trained to be g-word (grateful, ugh, I hate to even type it). We're not to ask questions because that would be dishonorable and disrespectable. If an adoptee who didn't want to search held in their hands their OBC, would they flip it over and look?

    -- Lorraine, I missed the 20/20 segment, but read the book and followed the trial. Truly disturbing. But on a good note, it makes my fmom look.... hmmmm... not as bad as Diane :) And, I don't regret finding her -- even with all the terrible stuff, the truth is more palatable to me than any sunshiney, rainbowy pack of lies.

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  7. I knew sooner than later that this one would make the rounds on the internet circuit...

    As I watched this story unfold Friday night, I wondered why Becky didn't go searching for her older surviving siblings. Then again, after what she went through with Diane I can't say as I blame her. The thought then crossed my mind that maybe she didn't want to walk into their lives & upset them. Maybe it was out of respect for them & where they are in their healing process.

    I often ask my husband why he doesn't seek out his father that relinquished him. He says, "I don't need a dad, I already have one." I often reply by saying,"No one said anything about you are going looking for a dad." Don't you want to know who you look like?" (He looks nothing like his mother or anyone else in his family for that matter.) Aren't you curious about where you come from & about your heritage?"

    The way I look at is this: Sometimes I think it is easier for people like my husband to be comfortable & "happy" with what they KNOW rather than what they don't. No one likes rejection, especially the possibility of rejection. I may not agree with that, but it is ultimately HIS choice & I have to respect that; It's his relationship(or lack there of) & all I can do is be here for him & support him even if I don't agree with his decision.

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  8. Anywaaayy, As for Becky's story, she annoyed me a bit. It is already very difficult for adoptees to voice pain or "blame" things on adoption issues without being labeled by everyone else as "histrionic attention seekers" even if the loss is absolutely there and their point is completely valid. It's when adoptees who are heard on national television go too far with it that it takes the rug out from under the rest of us.

    Anti-Social behavior, such as what Downs did, is recognised usually as the result of a severe personality disorder (e.g. Anti-Social Personality Disorder) coupled with a history of other severe mental illnesses, being a victim of abuse, and/or having marked low inteligence (I do not know which or if any of these Downs had), and of course, the conscious decision to do wrong. Becky did not "inherit" evil blood that she eventually "conquered" by personal choice. To me, that's simply absurd and reinforces the idea that society should fear naturally adoptees. Mind, you this is a society that already stimatizes surrendering parents and that would have no problem automatically assuming that any adoptee would have the potential of coming from "bad blood." It's why some states force us into counseling or slap us with restraining orders BECAUSE we are adopted and for no other reason.

    I think many of her issues possibly could be traced to her adoption loss (it doesn't matter if the loss was necessary, an infant doesn't understand the logic behind why the mother who nutured it in the womb is no longer present--all it knows is it wants her and she is not there). Other compounding issues were the fact that she found out about her natural mother at a young age in a rather insensitive way. The secrecy surrounding who her natural mother may have made her feel shame in herself. She also had the role model of an older sister likely suffering from her own adoption issues who encouraged her to do irresponsible things.

    But "evil blood," no, sorry. I don't buy it. The man who fathered me did a horrible, incredibly evil thing. I admit that I have suffered loss from adoption that has influenced my feelings, attitudes and decisions in every area of life. But there is no "evil gene" that I spent my life conquering. I'm responsible for the decisions I've made--both good and bad.

    I found out about the man who fathered me when I was 14 (minus any identifying information, of course). It was one of the only true details about my natural family that the agency told us, likely because it reinforced the tall-tale they told that I was "unwanted." I am since reunited and know both sides of my family (he passed away before I found them). My family though him did nothing wrong and are wonderful people as is my mother and my family through her. Yes, it's always better to know.

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  9. The overwhelming obligation to be "loyal" is why adoptees don't search, will convince themselves they "don't care," and will often adamantly attempt to make it clear to others that they have "no interest" in their roots. So many adoptees are adopteed by couples who cannot birth biological children (over 80% of Adoptive Parents). Adoption is presented as the "cure" to "close the chapter of infertility" in the couple's lives. But adoption doesn't "cure" anything, those issues are still there. In a self-sacrificing act (even subconsciously) to appear loyal, I feel like many adoptees are following society's demands for how they should feel and behave, and even the hints they receive from seeing their parent's pain, to forsake any and all things that could not be provided to them by their Adoptive Parents. We are not allowed to value nature--only nurture. Love and bonding in the womb matters to others--but it's not allowed to matter to adoptees. Who you got your eyes and nose from are frequent family conversations among biologically-related family members--but those things are labeled as "trivial" if an adoptee tries to cherish them. Adoptees aren't allow to voice pain related to their adoption because it's automatically considered an accusation that their Adoptive Parents did a "bad job" and did not adequately "replace" the Original Parents. So, many adoptees say nothing to avoid hurting the feelings of their Adoptive Parents.

    When the concept of a parent "leaving" is very real, who would want to risk alienating their Adoptive Parents in order to reach out to the natural family that society has long convinced us all has forgotten about us and "moved on"--risking being rejected by two families and having no one?

    It's no mystery why society adopted these values and trends. In the nativity of what is now modern American adoption, accepted psychological concepts were extremely flawed and fueled by stigma. Women who became pregnant outside of wedlock were deemed either feeble-minded, psychologically flawed, or socially deviant (or all the above) and subsequently were seen as incapable of parenting. Infant Mental Health had not yet recognised infant stress, memory, and trauma--certainly not for those infants destined for adoption. Since it was believed that adoption "saved" babies from their unwed mothers and left no impact on the infant--these two groups were largely ignored in adoption. Adoption has always been presented from the Adoptive Parent's point-of-view and benefit. Research has shown that even college text books (since at least 1940-late 1980's) on topics such as Family Systems have openly and shamelessly discussed the lack of "supply of children" for couples suffering from infertility and how these books went into detail about the suffering and needs of couples but scarcely--if ever, mentioned Natural Family loss or Child Welfare.

    It has been ingrained in every aspect of society that anything that opposes what the adoption originally set up (e.g. no contact with any family other than adoptive family, no connection to any roots other than ones that have been adopted etc.) is an assault on Adoptive Parents. Many adoptees end up forsaking reunion and knowledge of their roots, something potentially very healthy for them, for the feelings of others.

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  10. "Mei Ling, I feel sorry for them to so have their bitterness and sense of abandonment take over their lives."

    That's kind of my point, Lorraine. What if they don't feel "bitter" or "abandoned"?

    Their adoptive parents have hypothetically died, no one cares if they do a search or not, they aren't being emotionally or physically manipulated to NOT search.

    But they still aren't interested in searching.

    You'd call this denial even if the adoptive parents have nothing to do with it?

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  11. Amanda, well said. A couple of things stood out for me:
    (it doesn't matter if the loss was necessary, an infant doesn't understand the logic behind why the mother who nurtured it in the womb is no longer present--all it knows is it wants her and she is not there)

    And you mentioned that the rest of us talk about who looks like whom, who inherited what, etc., in families all the time. If you have been following my miserable and changeable relationship with a neighbor, I'd like to add that she herself has a vivid, interesting family history, and a mother you can google, and knowing her own rich background forms a large part of her public persona.

    When I am with people who do not understand why adopted people need to know their roots, my ears particularly perk up when the talk goes to their own family's heritage (my grandmother went to college, my uncle was, my great great grandfather was a doctor in this small village in Moldavia, and my father was a doctor and my daughter is going into medicine, etc.). Yet they are totally clueless about why the lack of this might make a huge hole in the lives of adoptees. I had just such a conversation with someone who was against reunion if anyone in the natural birth family got the least upset (say, the daughter who thought she was the firstborn of her mother) with the inclusion of a new family member! Yet this woman is also taking her three kids to the country of the family's origin for an extended family reunion.

    I was aghast at the lack of compassion for the "other" in this situation, and while I did not say that, I did point out that the adopted individual keenly felt this loss. If adopted people spoke up more to their friends and family, this attitude would ultimately change. But the silence keeps the silence going and the sealed records on the books. And adoption today fosters this silence so adoptees, as you so aptly stated, keep silent to prove their gratefulness and status as a "good" child.

    I speak up when I can, I've said as much on First Mother Forum, but since I am not adopted myself, I don't have the same force that the words coming from someone who is would.

    Keep up the good work and speak up when you can.

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  12. I was adopted and raised in a situation where I wasn't told of my biological background, but my adoptive parents were told that I had an aunt who was bipolar. So any time I disagreed with my parents, or showed usual teenage moodiness, it was met with, "You're crazy! you need counseling!" I had no idea that they were just WAITING for me to show any signs of "the crazy", and why. Would I have been better off had I known the origin for their wild (and inaccurate) accusations, so I could debunk them? Could I have been able to do so at age 12, 14, etc. or would knowing the history of their suspicions have led substance to them? I don't know.

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  13. A couple more twists to the Diane Downs story which I've also added at the end of the post.

    Another young woman carries Diane's DNA although she may not realize it. According to crime writer Ann Rule's account of the case "Small Sacrifices," several years before shooting her children, Diane was a surrogate mother for an infertile woman, artificially inseminated with the husband's sperm. Diane and the couple were strangers, connecting through a fertility lawyer. Diane passed a psyche exam.

    Diane's two surviving children, who were seriously disabled, were adopted by the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.

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  14. I read Ann Rule's book and saw the movie about Downs many years ago. I don't remember knowing that she got pregnant again and had another child. What a sad, sick story.

    I know a few adoptees who are afraid what they will find if they search. I have a n-mom friend whose relinquished daughter was conceived in rape. That was a stumbling block in their reunion, which has since worked out. I know an a-mom whose son's (now grown) n-mother was retarded, according to the paperwork; he is not. But he is worries about it and says he doesn't want to find her.

    All I have to add here is that when I first attended a n-mom support group several months into my reunion, I was relieved to see that they were all wonderful, intelligent, "normal" women. My self-image was so low because of what I "had done," I figured they'd all be a bunch of scary misfits. Like me, right? It was definitely an aha moment.

    So, I do get the fear.

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  15. "an infant doesn't understand the logic behind why the mother who nurtured it in the womb is no longer present"

    So true.

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  16. My natural mother doesn't want me to find my father. She is so proud of her Irish heritage and even talks about traveling to Ireland with me to learn more about it.

    She doesn't understand that I want to know my complete heritage, too. She thinks I should be satisfied in knowing just her and has implied that I have emotional issues because I have a desire to find my father. "Other adoptees don't have the need to search, etc..."

    I deserve to know my father. If anyone knows a William Parker who is about 66 years old, please let me know.

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  17. Anon,

    I'm sorry your natural mother won't tell you who your father is. I know that other adopted persons have had the same experience.

    I can't understand mothers doing this. It is just plain wrong!

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  18. Jane said she can't understand mothers not telling their child who their natural father is.

    Perhaps we should feel sorry for them because their their bitterness has taken over their lives.

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  19. Is it ALWAYS only bitterness and sense of abandonment that causes some adoptees not to search, even if their parents don't have influence over them?

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  20. I would like to hear from adoptees who have not searched or do not wish to search speak for themselves about why they feel this way. I do not think adoptive parents, first parents , or adoptees who chose to search should be speaking for them.

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  21. No, it's probably not always bitterness that keeps some adoptees from searching. But this adoptee thinks it's probably the ability to live wearing blinders. Personally, not my choice.

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  22. Adoptees who are not searching and who do not want their unamended birth certificates are not trolling the web and reading blogs about searching or the thoughts birth mothers or adoptees who do want to know who in the hell they are. As Kasey said, they are living with blinders on. I think it's more like living a life through a cloud of gauze. Good for them. They screw it up for the rest of us who want to know the truth about ourselves. And anon, if this blog pisses you off, why are you reading it?

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  23. Just a note, my daughter has no interest in meeting me. We have never had a real "reunion" and I have accepted that. I respect her wishes and have given her all family & medical history and get an e-mail or two a year. However, that didn't change her wanting to know who she was genetically. I believe 99.9% of adoptees want to know, even if they don't want to "reunite". I also personally believe her not wanting more of a relationship is out of loyalty to her family and I totally get that and respect it but even with all that... she still just wanted to know...

    Kristy (KristySearching)

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  24. I'm an adoptee who was very interested and somewhat proactive about finding my n-parents when I was in my 20s. But searches were difficult with email and the web being new.

    Now that I'm in my 40s, married with two small children, I'm hesitant to search. Lorraine, I think you were responding to my comment in your May 4 post:
    To Search or Not: That is the question for adoptees/birth mothers. (Thank you for writing that.)

    It's not that I don't want to find my n-family, but I'm worried about the unknown... how it will affect me, and therefore, my husband, children, mom and brothers, and my n-family. What it will do to my n-family... I certainly don't want to disrupt their lives. What will my n-family expect of me?

    So it's not that I don't want to search or know or meet, etc., I just afraid of the unknowns.

    Does that make sense?

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  25. Dear Anon: But wouldn't it be better to put the "fear of the unknowns" to rest? No matter what you find, you won't have questions anymore. You will still be you, but with a full history of your heritage. I can not imagine living life inside a fog.

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  26. Hi Lorraine,

    I have received my non-identifying info, so it's not so much that I'm afraid of what I'll find out, (though I'm sure I would find out much more). It's that, from everything that I've read, reunions can be intense and complicated. It wouldn't be just my finding out information. There are so many people involved who I have to consider - on all sides. (There has been a lot of drama going on with extended family right now, so I am already drained from that.)

    With all of that said, however, I just called the agency and told them I want to start the reunion process... because there will never be a perfect time.

    And I figured it was time I signed my name, since this is my third comment. :)

    Thank you,
    Kathy

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