In her sad essay, My Birth Son Probably Doesn't Know He's Adopted, first mother Shannon Des Roches Rosa tells of her fear that her surrendered son will not search for her. She learns that he is speaking publicly about his ancestral heritage, which she knows "isn't genetically true" because she knows his identity. That causes her to think he doesn't know he's adopted, or perhaps it is "his way of reaffirming his unbreakable connection to his adoptive family." Either way, she believes it makes it unlikely he will search for her, and thus the possibility of reunion with him is remote.
"SEMI-OPEN" ADOPTION CLOSED
|Shannon Des Roches Rosa|
Rosa had a "semi-formal adoption arrangement that included pictures and even a visit or two with him as a baby and toddler." Her son's adoptive father closed off contact after his adoptive mother died when the boy was young. In an earlier essay, Facebook-Stalking My Birth Son, which Rosa describes in her later essay "as laced with bitterness and not entirely respectful to my birth son's adoptive family," she says "his barely-open adoption slammed shut ... and the gods of irony handed his father the closed adoption he always wanted."
FEAR OF 'DISRUPTING' A LIFE
Although she found her son on Facebook, Rosa tells us she hasn't contacted him adding: "I never will, even though my heart aches for the motherless young man unaware of his maternal spare. Disrupting his life is not a moral burden I'm willing to shoulder. I'll remain safely on the other side of the computer screen, ever vigilant and very proud of the remarkable young man who has turned out so well." Of course, it is unknown if Rosa's son might be stalking her, unwilling to make contact for fear of disrupting her life.
Unlike Rosa, I often thought of searching for my lost daughter Rebecca, born in 1966. The possibility of reunion helped me justify giving her up. I knew that laws required adoption records to be sealed, but I thought that I could go to law school and learn how to get around these laws. I told myself I would search for her when she turned 18, in 1984. I did not tell my social worker of my plan because I was afraid she might send her to China or somewhere. It did not occur to me that I could search before my daughter was 18; only much later did I learn of Lorraine and other mothers who reunited with their surrendered children when the children were still minors.
AMBIVALENCE LEADS TO INACTION
I was ambivalent when I thought about searching, which as time went by was more and more frequent. One minute I resolved to search; the next I backed off. I told myself I would mean nothing to my daughter; we would have nothing in common (I believed in the blank slate, then). Finding her would damage my raised daughters, cause stress in other family relationships, make me an object of gossip. So in 1987, I decided to wait until my daughters were through high school and out of the home. I told myself I needed privacy and freedom from distractions before I searched. In 1995, when my youngest daughter was off to New York for college, I became involved in litigation over my job and didn't have the money I thought I'd need or the emotional strength to search. In 1997 my daughter, now 31, found me after an 11 year search.
Since my reunion, I have read many memoirs by first mothers and adoptees and met many first mother and adoptees through support groups and conferences. Lorraine found her daughter in 1981 because at the time it was possible to pay someone who could find just about anybody; today that person no longer exists, and outside of New York City, if you were born and adopted in New York State, a successful search without several substantial clues is next to impossible. Lorraine's daughter, born and adopted in Rochester, almost certainly would never have been able to locate her original mother.
I'd like to say to Shannon Des Roches Rosa that every time is a bad time to search and a good time to search. There's no magic time, or age, when you can be sure you will not disrupt your child's, or your mother's life, or be be met with open arms. This is true in countless cases. You can be sure, though, that if both birth mother and her child who was adopted wait for the other to act, reunion is not likely.--jane
"Do I dare__________________________________
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse"
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Elliot
My Birth Son Probably Doesn't Know He's Adopted
Facebook-Stalking My Birth Son
Why Be Normal When You Could Be Jeanette Winterson
Do First/birth mothers want to be found?
A Birthmother's Fears of Reunion
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
It's fricken' brilliant. Read Lorraine's review:
Why Be Normal When You Could Be Jeanette Winterson
"Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is raucous. It hums with a dark refulgence from its first pages. . . . Singular and electric . . . [Winterson's] life with her adoptive parents was often appalling, but it made her the writer she is." --The New York Times:
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
"A striking, quirky, delicate, and intricate work . . . Winterson has mastered both comedy and tragedy in this rich little novel. . . . Winterson's great gift is evident." —The Washington Post Book World
Next on Lorraine's list.