Thursday, March 5, 2015

Adoption Reunion From An Adoptee's Point of View

Most of the stories you see of adoption reunion in the media are just sort snippets in time ~ the moment that family members see each other face-to-face for the first time since birth.  How happy and exciting it all is.

Those short snippets don't show what happens in the time after the first emails, letters, in-person visits.

Reunion was life changing for me.  There are still times, six years later, that I find myself lost in some aspects; trying to figure out how to navigate this new life with my firstborn son included.  

Today I read this adoptee's story of her experience and feelings in being reunited with her natural family.

It's an important read I think, especially for those expectant mothers considering adoption who are still landing here on my blog.  If the hope of a future reunion with your child is something that you are holding onto in order to be able to go through with adoption ~ take that hope off the table.  It's not a sure thing.  I have come to know some wonderful reunion stories, but there are far more where either the natural mother (or father) or the grown adoptee is unable to have a relationship with the other. 

Here are a few things that Jessenia said that I want to share here, but if you have time please go read Jessenia's post here.  (I added emphasis on the words that cut like a knife into this mothers heart)

I used to think that searching for my birth mother would be the hardest part about my adoption besides dealing with being adopted (I got used to that already). However, I learned that life post reunion has to be the most difficult part about being adopted.

It's complicated. Everything about it is complicated.

It was well over a year, maybe two, that I reunited with my birth family face-to-face. Simply put, I wasn't ready. I learned that I had six siblings - two older and four younger. That in itself added another degree of pain to know that my birth mother had other child and more children. Why was I the one that was abandoned? What was so bad about me? I struggle with it often till this day because I don't have all the answers, but even with them, I am afraid I will always feel this way.

Today, in my heart and in my mind, I struggle with how to live my life with two mothers even though my adoptive mom is my mom. She is number one and will always be that because she raised me, loved me, and never gave up on me or our family no matter how tough it was. She worked three jobs and did her best as a widow. That is what a mother does. However, be it the loving person I am, deep inside I want to be able to love my birth mother and call her "mom" or something close to that, but I can't. I want to compartmentalize everyone into their spaces. Two mom's just doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit. It is awkward. It is like I have a family over here and a family over there. And I must keep them separated, my moms anyways. I am afraid that one will feel loved more than the other. Not that my adoptive mom ever said anything like that to me before. It's an adoptee thing. But I have no desire to love my birth mom how I love my adoptive mom. I just wish things could be normal? Whatever that is.

However, on the flip-side, my biological siblings are dying to be in my life and want to do all that, but I cannot let them in until I figure out things with my adoptive family. Because again, I don't ever want my adoptive family to feel that I am showing more love to my birth family. My mind won't let me rest on this. These are the effects of adoption.

There is so much more to this story, but the bottom line is that I still don't feel like I am connected to anyone. I learned that blood or biological ties really doesn't secure a bond like I had imagined. That comes with time. Unfortunately, my siblings are having to pay for the decisions that was beyond their control because I know they love me like crazy, but I won't let them grow close to me. I am traumatized by what has already happened in my reunion that I am afraid to subject myself to more pain that I can easily avoid by closing the door. I wish I wouldn't do this to them, but this is what being abandoned and adoption did to me. I pray like crazy that one day I can let my guard down and be open to love without fear.
Oh Jessenia...  I hope and pray also that one day you can let your guard down and be open to love without fear.  I hope that for all adoptees.  I also hope that for all mothers who have lost a child to adoption.  Myself included.



  1. I can totally relate to her feelings. And by the time we process our feelings enough to become integrated, it feels almost too late to form the real relationships we crave.

  2. Jessenia, I also hope you can let your guard down and be open to love without fear. Try thinking of it this way: (Assuming you are not married, if you are, please adjust) You get married. You have just added another family, one that is just as important as the one you know. To your future children, they will be equal to your family. Your brothers in law and sisters in law will (hopefully) become close to you, so much that you simply think of them as your brothers and sisters.

    This is what you already have in front of you. Embrace it! There is no need for competition. There is no finite amount of love you can have for others. There is no need for compartmentalization. Yes, you *can* have two mothers. You did your entire life, you just didn't know one of them until now. Yes, you can call her Mom. You'd feel okay calling your mother in law Mom, right? Maybe you even called your best friend's mom Mom growing up.

    Please, let the walls come down. Enjoy all your family. Life is too short to do otherwise.

    (Adoptee reunited 30 years and counting...)