Eventually everyone of us has to make an awkward phone call or email or some kind of communication with birth family members during our search. For some of us we spend so much time looking that we become preoccupied with either the search, the process of sifting through mountains of data, or dealing with our feelings as we hit one dead end after another.
Just know, eventually you will need to make, “that call”. I was there, sitting on the edge of my bed thinking about what I would say and how I would say it. I remember the first call I needed to make was to someone in Texas I had never known before. It was, in every sense of the word, a cold call. You know? The one’s we all hang up on all the time. I had to come across sincere, yet not like a salesman. It felt more profound, because in my mind I knew it could mean something huge. I would try and talk myself down from all the pressure, saying things to myself like, “they may just turn out to be someone totally unrelated to me”. “Calm down!”
Yet, when the time came, to make “that call”, nothing really prepares you for it. You simply have to try and be yourself and speak to them sincerely. It does feel like your asking out someone special on your first date. Don’t take this wrong; you should definitely prepare the kinds of questions you want to ask, as well as the kinds of answers you are willing to share. Especially since some of us may be contacting a half-sibling, and not the actual birth parent. They may have passed away, and this is the only route left to us.
Either way, I try and encourage people at this crossroad to think about how they would face similar questions. You may have become so numb to thinking about the adoptee and birth parent perspective, that you feel you are not equipped to talk down at the level where this would be your first experience thinking about it. However, I have found that if these people are biologically related to us, they have a tendency to respond on some level similarly to the way we think.
That includes similarities in how we would like to be approached by people. Would you rather you got a really important message in the form of a hand written letter or email? Or would you respond better to a phone call or flat out refuse either of those mediums for a face-to-face encounter? Think it through and be yourself.
I like to think if it was meant to be, it will happen. If people given our truth are uncomfortable and you detect they need time to absorb the information you just shared, say so. Listen to them, think it through, and respect the other side of this perspective. Yet there are times we are facing a possible birth parent and it feels very overwhelming to consider the possibility of rejection. The same is true under those circumstances. You need to be prepared for your search to reach this conclusion. Either takes what information you have and come to peace with it, or move forward and find a way to communicate with your close relatives or birth family. There really isn’t another way to go about it.
Each of us eventually must face “that call” and come to terms with how we will deal with it. You may have thought you never were going to have to get to this point, or you may take weeks to face up to the challenge, if not longer. Whichever way you do it, trust in yourself to deal with it on your terms. This is your journey; ultimately it’s up to you to decide how you will conquer your fears.
Trust in one thing, you just cannot know the future and trying to think you can somehow control the outcome is futile. In the end, we all must face the reflection in the mirror the next morning and still love ourselves for who we are, and that power should never be handed over to someone else to pass judgment on us. Easier said then done. I know.