Friday, January 29, 2010

A Musical Interlude

If you've read through my story, you probably already have a good idea of why adult adoptees like myself search for their birth families--unanswered questions, medical history, mysteries of identity & heritage & a million stories we are always asked to tell because they are  written on our faces.  I've never heard that need to search and the frustrations with the challenges we face(unnecessarily, in my humble opinion) ever so clearly conveyed as in this amazing collaboration between Zara H Phillips and DMC (yes, of Run-DMC fame!).

Many thanks to the Adoption Mosaic blogger Tara who first posted this; I can't help but think it will clarify some remaining questions for readers & hopefully, personalize the agony of the unknown for those skeptics who are lucky enough to be able to take their own original identities for granted.

Even The Simplest Things Can't Be Easy

Boarding the plane in Houston to head to NY for both my momentous first meeting with my birth mother & my cousin's wedding, I still felt remarkably calm.  I was understandably excited but I had managed to build enough time into the travel schedule to feel relaxed.  We were to fly to Newark and then head to Albany (a very quick flight) from there.  We'd arrive on Thursday night early, settle in, have some dinner, get to bed early and meet L the following morning, leaving the whole day open for whatever we decided to do.  Saturday we'd lunch with my brother, Kristin, and my parents & then head to the wedding shortly thereafter.  Travel Day weather was bright & sunny, not a cloud on the horizon, nothing to mess up the schedule.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Planning to Meet

The tickets were purchased, the hotel reservations made, the reply card returned for my cousin's wedding.  A day I had waited a lifetime for was actually going to happen.  So why was I so calm?  Why wasn't I nervous?  Why I wasn't freaking out?

Preparation, preparation and more preparation.  A lifetime of preparation, two decades of potential scenarios and two years of conversations.  I hadn't rushed into this.  I hadn't forced this.  I was ready and more importantly, so was she.

I focused on creating a scrapbook that I could give to L that would give her a visual record of many key moments in my life that included pictures and stories about everyone closest to me including my parents, my brother, my aunts/uncles/cousins, my grandparents, my friends and of course, my husband.  I wanted to be certain that I wouldn't forget to tell her any stories that she might want to hear and wanted to leave her with proof that my life has always been a wonderful one.  I knew that, until she saw a pictorial record, she might never allow herself to truly believe that her decision was the right one, one that she need not feel guilty about any longer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Meet or Not To Meet?

Deciding whether or not to meet wasn't really a discussion L & I ever had. We spoke on the phone weekly for the first year after I found her and occasionally made reference to that day when we would "finally meet in person."

When you live 1500 miles apart, the first meeting is something that requires planning. It isn't just a question of hopping in the car and driving to the next town or across the state. It's a flight, a rental car, a hotel and advance planning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts on Relationships

Finding my birthmother was a bit of a shock to me. Even though I had searched for nearly twenty years and had thought a great deal about what it might mean to find her and believed myself ready for any reaction she might have, I had never thought about the days, months and years AFTER I found her. Like a bride who is only focused on the wedding day and not the marriage, I had given zero consideration to what the consequences, possibilities, difficulties and oddities that are inherent in creating a relationship with another adult who has baggage (intense, scary, upsetting BAGGAGE) that is deeply associated with me and my birth.

My birthmother, who from now on will be referred to as L, just because it's easier, is a wonderful, loving, effusive, ebullient woman who has enjoyed her life to the fullest. She is also a widow who deeply misses her husband, who has lived with shame, guilt, anguish and regret over my relinquishment, and who has had a cascade of medical problems in the two years since I found her. She is easy to talk to, witty, a great listener, fiercely defensive of those she loves, melancholy, sometimes forgetful, and occasionally guarded. She and I are essentially linked by my birth but we were strangers to each other. She had hopes, dreams and aspirations for me that I could never have known about and I envisioned her life to have unfolded in a myriad of different directions without once guessing the real story.

Letting Things Ride

One of the recurrent realities of my search for my birth family has been that the need, that desire that drives my actions, has been one that ebbs and flows throughout the years. Sometimes I was consumed by the search, could think of nothing else, worked furiously on the internet, in chat rooms, in adoption search groups and read, read, read about other people's successes and failures. At other times, the search took a back seat to the rest of my life, to the immediacies of work, life, friends, family, and other passions.

Apparently, the need to blog about my story has ebbs and flows as well. When last I posted, I was about to detail the relationship that I built with my birthmother since I found her, what happened in the search for my birthfather, how the search impacted my relationship with my parents, and the question that everyone asks: did I finally meet any of these people in person?

Life is a constantly evolving adventure for me with new revelations and new experiences around every corner. I hope you're ready to hear more because I'm back in the writer's chair with lots more excitement to share!