' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: A Happy Reunion Story in the News

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Happy Reunion Story in the News

Mondays always bring a lot of adoption/conception related news from the weekend because there is always a lot of adoption news these days. The brightest story is that of Reese Hoffa, the world champion shot putter who didn't medal in Beijing at the Olympics on Friday, but whose story wins a medal from me.

Given up for adoption when he was four (and he and an older brother played with fire and burned their house down), he was adopted at five, but unfortunately separated from his brother, also placed for adoption. When Reese was 23, and at college, he decided to look for his other mother, and found her quickly on through an adoption website (which one, we don't know) that his mother had posted on two weeks earlier. His mother, on video, says of their separation, "It's always there, you never go on and be happy." Yep, that's exactly what she says. She also is able to tell Reese that he wasn't given up because his playing with fire wasn't the reason he was placed for adoption.

His adoptive mother turns out to be a peach, and though she admits she was somewhat apprehensive, and jealous, she wanted him to "have the answers he wanted." The reunion was seven years ago; his first mother had already found his older brother. Both mothers come off well in this story, and one is left with the impression that this reunion, seven years ago, has a happy ending.

Check out the story at:

Reunions are so fraught! Birth mothers who long for reunion want to pop those kids right back into our families, but the adoptees are thinking: not so fast--I've got this whole other family that I'm a part of now. This was certainly true with my daughter--Lordy, a couple of months after we got together, I did what a lot of clueless mothers do: have a "reunion" gathering of sorts where relatives came by the house. Of course, they were curious. I'm sure she felt like an elephant in the circus.

Fortunately the day was saved by my husband--not her father--who a lot of these relatives had never met either, as we had gotten married earlier that year in New York, and all this was happening back in Michigan, where I'm from. So most of the relatives hadn't met Tony either. He kept Jane company on the couch, and made her feel safe and less of an exhibit.

Would I do the same thing again today? Nope. I'd let her be introduced to people bit by bit. It would have been enough to meet me, and my immediate family that time.

When I read the last section of Birthmark (a letter to my daughter whom I have not yet found) at the Pitt conference last fall, about my family all waiting and praying for her, the room was very quiet. I thought, wow, I hit a nerve.

I'll say, as the room was probably three-quarters filled with adoptive mothers for whom the idea of another family "waiting" for "their" child was anathema. I remember watching one large woman...later I would listen to her describe the practice she called "kinning," by which an adoptee becomes kin to the adoptive family.

One adoptive mother did speak to me after I read. She said, you know, we feel that the child was "meant" for us...that probably...I don't remember how she finished the sentence because we both knew what she meant. Like, yeah, it's hard for us to be behind the idea that we had a child that was "meant" for another family. It makes us seem as if we are breeders, like livestock.


One last note today. If you live in New York, take two minutes and make a call to Sheldon Silver's office in Albany and ask that he bring the Adoptee Rights Bill to the floor for a vote. Say you are calling in support of Bill A2277. It's very simple. You'll be asked for your address, but you don't need to explain why you are calling. The number is 518-455-3791, courtesy of Joyce Bahr of Unsealed Initiative of the New York Statewide Adoption Reform.


How are they gonna know in Albany that adopted people want/need/deserve their original birth certificates, with no restrictions, unless we let them know?


  1. "Kinning" What is that? (I'm a little afraid to ask, sounds almost like "branding").

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.



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