A dream before a memory

I have read on the topic of primal wounds that are set upon the infant’s mind when the separation between birth mother and child are made. While I think the topic is fascinating to consider, I am not sure I am afflicted with this pain. My adopted mother never, even unto this day, felt foreign to me. Perhaps she has a similar personality as my birth mother or I created a bond with her that just simply took hold early enough to allow a connection to be made.

I have certainly read and even heard of adoptees’ pain in relation to not being able to make that connection with their adopted parents. However, I could not personally distinguish it from the normal fragmentation that occurs between the adoptees lost connection to their root heritage and natural family. While I cannot put a finger on, what others might describe as pain, I did discover a bond and familiarity to my birth mother that goes beyond description. In fact, I have not fully realized the depths yet.

The revelation that this individual who has become my friend and confidant is also the person who bore me into this world is difficult to fully fathom. This is that part that people who have come from a normal family not separated by adoption, cannot really understand. Life for adoptees in an adopted family can be wonderful, but they know for a fact they too have adopted the family they came to live with.

It is odd to describe that your whole life has been that of a chameleon, able to blend into any social situation but not necessarily fit anywhere. The family I created when my children were born were in fact the first blood relatives I have ever known, prior to meeting my birth mother. Seeing my children born was perhaps the single most incredible moment in my life, because they were both my children and genetically bonded to me from that moment on.

Understand that my first son was in fact adopted. He was my wife’s son from her first marriage.  So he is at least half-genetically related to my children born after our marriage. Although I never even considered that until I started looking for birth relatives. We approached my oldest son and asked him if he was ever interested in meeting his birth father again. There are no secrets between us, so we know exactly who he is. However, at this stage in his life, my adopted son really feels strongly about the family he is in and my part playing the role of his father.

It was one of the solemn promises I made to him as a young child that I would never leave him or forsake him as his birth father had done. He not only left his mother, he gave up his parental rights and I adopted him. I see it as an act of kindness that he relinquished his son to me, but my son does not see it that way. Only time will tell if he ever changes his mind.

Still in my situation and many I have helped, there is a need beyond curiosity to make a bond with birth relatives. For me it was never a matter of if, but when. I never wanted to wait until my adopted parents passed away, as some adoptees do. I felt that was morbid, and unthinkable to entertain. Almost like wishing one set of parents were gone before looking for the other. I know that many are simply wracked with guilt and cannot fathom hurting their adopted parents.

Many of us have been taught by society, at large, to respect what has been given to us and feel lucky we were not abandoned in some orphanage. While I know many orphans and foster kids would love any family they could create a bond with, this is a complex topic where one shoe does not fit all individuals adopted. It is vast oversimplification telling and adoptee they were “lucky” to be adopted.

Being severed from your clan, never to have the legal rights to know your ancestors, medical predispositions, or any past beyond the miracle of your birth, is an absurdity, travesty and social injustice that will one day be undone. Until then people like me will break all the rules to help these people, my brothers and sisters of adoption to find their roots.

All I can say is that once the possibility exists that a connection can be made, even with half-siblings or close relatives of the birth family the decades of fantasy ideas of what our birth parents might be like cannot be satiated with simply searching. For some, they just have to know.

Waking to realize that life has been but a dream is not that easy to accept. Being able to draw a line that clearly sinks up with the natures of individuals you thought might be completely foreign to you, but are in fact very similar, is miraculous and disturbing at the same time. Yet, adoptees are willing to face the possible enormous pain of feeling rejected by their birth parents, just for a chance that they can reconnect with them. Consider what that means until a dull ache enters your heart, and then you might know what is at stake for these people.