"Natural mothers have spent their lives apologizing. We apologized for getting pregnant, but we were not the only people having sexual relationships. We apologized for giving away our babies, but we were told by everyone that it was the right thing to do for our children. We apologized for missing our children, but it was a perfectly natural reaction to our loss. Some mothers are still apologizing for wanting to find their lost children. It is time we stopped apologizing. It is right for us to search for our children. We are mothers, after all.
This wonderful passage is in first mother Evelyn Burns Robinson's book, Adoption and Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Reunion. I do wish reunion could be solved. Like a crossword puzzle or an anagram. Solved. Felt good about. Resolved.
If we have learned anything at First Mother Forum, it is that reunion is so vastly different for the two sides of the equation--mother and child. Those of us mothers who want a relationship, want it to be as normal as possible--phone calls, connection, inclusion into the son's or daughter's life--but as far as I can tell, nobody knows what the new normal is for first mother/relinquished child relationship is! It's up, it's down, it's a crazy carnival ride that is so emotional it often seems that one side or the other has to get off. Sometimes it is the mother; sometimes it is the adopted one.
Adoptees tell us how emotionally overwhelming reunion is, as one comes to grips with the life not lived, that other person who-might-have-been. And to them, the new normal is knowing the reality but...life has to go back to the normal of before, and that may or may not include the mother-who-wasn't-there before. And we, those mothers who relinquished, known as birth mothers to the masses, have to resolve to find a way to live with that knowledge. That we may or may not be a vibrant part of our child's life. After the first wild flush of reunion, we might be just part of the background wall paper of our children and grandchildren's lives. When they retreat, we are left feeling burnt out and used. I do not mean to be cynical here as I quote Kurt Vonnegut, but...So it goes.
We cannot undo the past; we cannot have back what we once relinquished. We do not have to apologize to the world, but we can be sorry that our children were adopted. But we must accept what is. We can only live our lives the best we can: we can bring wealth of love and kindness to all whose paths cross ours, and we can resolve to hurt as few people as possible along the journey as we set down one foot after the other to the end of our tao, our way, our path. --lorraine