Today I know that is not true. Not only have I heard of so many birth mothers rejecting reunion that it makes my head spin in sorrow, but I also had a long-time neighbor and friend who did not admit that she had a child that her other children did not know about--until she was on her deathbed. For years we managed to maintain a friendship while we argued about what I fought for, mystifying me and her children. One of them figured out the truth before she came clean, only weeks before she slipped away. If such a mother was that close to me in real life, there are many others out here.
|Reads like a novel; the writer is|
an admirable survivor
Fellow-blogger Jane had to do tell her three grown daughters about the first, after her eldest daughter found her. To Jane's credit, she became an outspoken advocate and reformer herself. I found my daughter, and, with the support of my family, wrote about the situation before and after so this was not an issue for me.
Digressing here, so back to the main point: If you want a relationship with your adopted (out) son or daughter--how should you react?
|A great book for understanding |
the adopted individual
Fear is understandable. Change is hard, and if you are living in secret, or semi-secret, your first physiological reaction may be flight. But understand that the person on the phone is the child you had in your body for nine months, whom you gave birth to, who carries your genes, the extension of your family lineage going back centuries, and in an inimitable way is connected to you in the most intimate way possible. Do you really want to screw this up? Also understand that even if they had terrific adoptive parents and a good life, they are coming to you because the pull of DNA was not squelched in them, and they are the grownup version of that baby you bore. No matter what they say--they are on the other end of the phone because they need you now. Do you really want to refuse your son or daughter, now all grown up? You may think they had had a good life--and they may tell you that--but they are calling now to fill that missing link in their circle of life. And they need you. Turning them away is incredibly hurtful. This is a moment to focus on wanting to love and protect your baby, but only now, years later, that grown up, yet they may still have the same need for your love and connection.
So if you hear words that put your immediately on the defensive, ignore them. If the person says...I only want to know who you are, medical records, why you gave me up, who my father is...accept what they say, but let your heart, not your head rule. Don't think about tomorrow, or what you have to do to make this work. Answer their questions, but let your attitude show you are open to more. Even if the words hurt, they may be saying them only to protect themselves. They've heard stories about mothers who reject reunion, and they at best are hoping to put you at ease that they are not going to barge in and destroy your life. Remember, they have no idea how you are going to react to that phone call seemingly out of the blue, and actually making that call to you has been extremely difficult and scary.
|The memoir before the movie|
Last night I finally saw Lion. The reunion scene between son and found mother is brilliant. The camera focuses up close on the mother's face as she embraces her son who has been gone for more than two decades. Love and relief suffuses her and she hugs her son tightly. The camera lingers. It is an overwhelmingly beautiful, realistic scene. Out of all the different reactions that the three members of the adoption triad (biological mother, son, adoptive mother) have with the scene, it might do the most good for fearful first mothers. Perhaps it will awaken buried feelings and lost hopes for reunion. The scene shows that simple human emotion is enough. Words hardly matter. Yes, the reason for a separation in Lion is vastly different than adoption--there is no guilt involved in Lion--but the intensity of the reunion is what I hope reaches mothers in the closest and the public at large. Including some of those legislators who oppose unsealing birth certificates.
As more states, such as New Jersey, are releasing original birth certificates, there will be more phone calls and letters from the adopted to their birth mothers. DNA is also finding connections and leading to biological parents--mothers and fathers. The internet and social media also finds people. Searchers are sometimes successful with seemingly slim clues. The times they are a'changin (to quote Dylan), and biological mothers will be contacted by their lost daughters and sons. No matter what you think now, your family most likely will accept you when the truth is out (though some other of your children may be miffed), and it's always better to be prepared than not.
To first mothers when your lost son or daughter calls: Open your heart. Don't worry about the first words you hear. Don't say anything hurtful. There's more to say about this, but that's all for today.--lorraine
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Ten Thousand Sorrows
By Elizabeth Kim