A few weeks ago I read a piece about "Facebook's Emotional Tech Support Team" in The New York Times. Buried in the piece was the story of an adoptee who had connected with her first mother, and her family, but then when she had a falling out with her mother, the whole family unfriended her, and she felt totally locked out.
What I was reminded was how fragile the bonds can be after reunion. There is so much to get through, over, up and around, and nothing is never as if the relinquishment did not occur. You connect on Facebook or in real life and then, POOF!, one day it blows up and ends. If an adoptee walks out of a relationship with the first mother, the reunited family members in general feel the allegiance to the mother they have known and nourished, and been nourished by. The family may close ranks and leave the new comer--no matter how warmly she may have been welcomed--out. To extended family members it may seem as if the adopted individual is aiming to hurt her first mother--and their relative, perhaps their mother--repeatedly.
From the first mother's point of view, the rejection by the found child after the blissful reunion may be so emotionally draining and hurtful that she asks the family to retreat. I am not sure how I might have handled this if my own daughter wanted to maintain a strong relationship with family members when she wasn't talking to me, and many of you know that happened several times over the course of our relationship. One day we were strong, and the next day I might as well be dead. My daughter and I met and had a 26-year relationship before social media existed, and with all the ups and downs we went through, I'm going to call that a blessing.
But it's far from true for people today. One mother I know who was found by her daughter, and the mother was rejected in a couple of years, but the daughter maintains some sort of relationship with my friend's sister, and it plays out sometimes on Facebook. People get blocked, are unblocked, get blocked again. Photos are posted, comments made by family members she did not think were connected. Each one is a fresh stab at an old wound, making it bleed once again. Adoption is the pain that goes on giving. Adoption is so far from the rosy picture that most of the world seems to think it is.
Some use Facebook to search, and write their birth date on a poster board, hold it in front of them and have a picture taken and post it on Facebook, hoping that someone will know someone who had a child on X day at X hospital in X city. Mothers do it too, searching for their lost babies. I post the pictures whenever I see them, yet it angers me that we--birth mothers and adoptees--are reduced to such a demeaning posture to search for each other. Unsealing the damn birth records of every since adoptee in America could end that belittling ritual of search we have been reduced to. What will it take, I wonder, to reach legislators if this doesn't make them see? Adoptees, me thinks, will be the last group who will be still discriminated against.
At times, people "stalk" their family members on social media. They may witness sickness, weddings, births, deaths, celebrations of family members...all without being connected in real life. It's a virtual relationship, not a real one, yet psychologically it is very real. Social media is an amazing connective tool--for first mothers and adoptees it has been a boon as we have been able to tell our stories in a way that was not possible before. Closed pages for first birth mothers are full of sorrow and pain, and sometimes joy at reunion, and they are all good because they are places we can be understood. We are not alone, these pages scream out by their very existence. When a search comes to a happy conclusion, and pictures are posted, we in number celebrate by hitting "Like" and hearts or smiles and posting congratulatory comments. On other pages, we listen to the sorrow when a reunion goes bad, a mother or father writes a rejecting letter, or doesn't respond. The pain is palpable, real, our communal understanding of the pain makes us wince, for we, the readers, have been through it all ourselves. We smile, and we weep for our sisters and brothers, for we all have holes in our hearts. --lorraine
|The forsythia bush for Jane|
What are your stories of adoption that involve social media? On this posting, anonymous comments are perfectly acceptable.
My daughter's birthday was the other day. I miss her still, but she is at peace. I keep hearing about more adoptee suicides. I read of another one day. Adoption for us is the first act of a tragedy.
I will be hosting a Q&A about Hole In My Heart at 8p.m. Tuesday, April 19 at the Hole In My Heart page on Facebook. All welcome.
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
from an adoptive mother at Amazon: "If the purpose of the book was to make women think twice about giving their babies up for adoption I think she did an admirable job. Her pain as the mother is palpable. Adoption comes with a great deal of trauma....Ms. Dusky, through her website and books, has helped us adoptive mothers gain more understanding of the trauma of adoption. It helps us realize that the birth family is more than the birth family, they are an integral part of who are children are."