California Dreamin’

Even though the Mamas and the Papas recorded this song in 1965, two years before I was born, it has meaning to me; it reminds me of the era I was born from and the country as a whole being in the midst of the sixties.

Understanding the era you come from can help you appreciate and prepare for the moment you plan to communicate with your birth family. I found it helped to read up on just how people perceived the whole idea surrounding unwed mothers and how chilling parents chose to place all the blame for pregnancy on their daughters. Even to such an extent as to preserve the status of their reputations as good parents in the area they lived over the happiness and peace of mind of their own children.

It was a miserable circumstance and pressure placed upon the shoulders of young women, who had so little say in keeping their babies or choosing to be disowned from their families if they did not agree to the terms parents in that time framed as the only choice they could make.

It is important as adoptees to be sensitive to this trauma and the secrecy bound to these birth mothers, who have sometimes been forced to keep it a secret their whole lives. Think about any secret you have. Then think about keeping it from everyone for all of your life. Now consider someone calling you on the phone and bringing it into the light.

It is more than secrecy that has been bottled up all that time. It is also pain, guilt, and the trauma that some of these women have never faced completely. That is what we face when we reach out to them. It takes great care not to become the source of pain instead of happiness and joy reunited with a birth mother. It should not be something you consider in haste once you have been handed over the ability to come back into their lives.

For some of us, our search has been several decades old. In some ways we have become numb to the topic of finding these people. We may not consider that to the other birth mother’s perspective we are ghosts from a lifetime ago.