This evening I worked on expanding the maternal side of a family tree. I ended up going back and forth along a specific time period where the birth mother would have been born, but thus far have not been able to come across any familiar surnames that we are looking for.
While I have brought up challenges like frustration, motivation, and brick walls, I seldom talk about just why I do this for adoptees and birth families. Oddly enough I find it sort of therapeutic to engage in the act of helping people I feel a kinship. While I enjoy the challenge of puzzles and bending my will to circumvent obstacles that present themselves upon this journey, these people really do share an experience that few others can identify with.
There is an identity I felt was a thing I alone was challenged with. See when you have no roots everything you base your identity on is experience based. So I naturally thrive in the kinesthetic world of experience. It defines me. This I think is the single most difficult ideology to absorb once you find your birth family. That there is actually a natural identity to draw a line to.
In fact if you spend enough time thinking about it the thought becomes a bit overwhelming. Up until my reunion my identity was finite. It began from the moment I could remember experiences. Little did I know that also includes shadows of the experience of being held by my natural mother.
Lots of protective instincts arise when I make reference to the individual who bore me into this world from the one who raised me. It is for this reason I cannot come close to denying either of them my gratitude. Not out of guilt, but out of a life I lived. It is also the reason I cannot take sides in saying there should be no adoptions at all. My opinion is that they fulfill a lot that could be completely missing, so no, you will not get me to say there is no place in this world without the need for adoption of children.
My main complaint about adoption is closed adoptions. I would certainly not like to see children indefinitely aging out of foster care, as opposed to having an adopted family of their own. Certainly in a perfect world the natural parents would be ideal. However, I can tell you now the two who made me would have never stuck it out together. In a sense I feel as if my very existence was in the balance of chance.
I just wish I was able to embrace my birth families history on both sides as a welcomed guest throughout my life. However, settling for one is still a huge boon. So having sufficiently diluted this post with my feelings related to my maternal experiences and opinions on adoption in general, coming back to the idea of just how I have experienced the world as an adoptee has changed.
Understand that I did not just meet my birth mother and miraculously and instantly become a whole person again; somehow erasing forty-seven years without her and becoming just like everyone else who was raised by their biological parents. No, I came across an individual who has striking similarities in personality and intellect, as myself. There are features that I see in our reflection, but for me it is mostly in the way we both must fill our days from dawn to dusk with constructive time. We share a similar drive. I used to describe it as people who skim the surface of life, and those who dive deep. Interestingly enough I have experienced this in my half-sister on the paternal side too.
I think I am still exploring just what it is like to be reunited with birth family. Imagine reading people’s lips all your life, then suddenly being able to hear. Despite knowing you can now hear people you find it almost impossible not to face people and watch their mouths move to be able to hear what they say with any certainty. That is what it is like for me to acknowledge being with birth family. I am not used to looking at people and finding a likeness to myself, so it does not surprise me that I don’t see many resemblances yet.
The nurture I still receive from the mother who raised me, was profound. Yet I only know that now having found my birth mother. It is not that I appreciated my adopted mother any less before, but now I know there are distinct parts of my personality and fellowship with people based on the nurturing I received. I am only just starting to awaken to the senses that make up my nature. Ever catch yourself staring at someone in a perfectly natural way that made you see what makes them so unique? I don’t mean in some creepy stalker kind of way, I mean a way in which you see yourself in them.
I cannot tell you if I have reached beyond all the qualities that make up a reunion. In a few weeks I will be meeting more family that I have never been in contact with face to face my entire life. So while my birth mother and I act relatively normal around one another, face-to-face encounters still give me pause. How can they not? My logical mind has absorbed many facets of this family in general terms, but my emotion and kinesthetic side will likely stay in a state of shock for years to come.
So why do I help adoptees and birth family? How could I call myself human and not want to help others like me come to some peace in their time? Now I don’t expect every adoptee to feel this way, but for me, there just is no other way to feel but grateful and not horde this fortune I found all to myself.