Finding the birth family can be rewarding and full of baggage at the same time. The television shows that show the happy ever after are a rare. I know this not only from my own experience but from others who have found their biological family. One has to remember there was a reason we were given up in the first place. I was given up at the age of 4. I had a personality and was fully aware of what was going on around me. It is much easier on the younger ones, but they still have the same questions and the mothers still have the same baggage. My friend gave her son up after having him and recently was reunited. It was a long awaited reuion one that I was excited for also. There is baggage along with the reunion. If a family can work through the baggage they can make it. In my case I have had to cut off the ones that carry to much baggage into my new life. It hurts to know this had to happen after waiting so many years to find out who I was but I have peace knowing who I am and where I came from.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope your post stirs other people to share also. I have two daughters adopted from China and I often wonder about their birth parents and whether there will come a time when my daughters are able to find them. I have often thought that by coming to America and starting a life outside of the cultural context in which they were abandoned, our adopted daughters from China do have a chance to escape the label they would have if they grew up in the orphanage. Thanks for sharing
I know that bringing your daughters here from the orphanage was the greatest blessing that you ever could have done for your daughters. I can't say to you that they will ever want to find their family. I have met other adoptees that have no desire to find their family and are satisfied knowing that they have just one family. This may be so with your daughters, knowing the way in which they came to you. All I can say is be honest and open with your daughters, support and stand by them no matter their choice. I didn't have that and I let all parents know this because it hurt me to know that the family that raised me couldn't be there when I needed them to be.
Leaderomany, my son (now in his thirties and adopted from infancy) did what you say you did. He met the birth family and ended up distancing himself once that "family baggage" (different from any "baggage" the adoptive person may or may not have) showed up. He was 21 at the time, and I'd always hoped he'd be good and mature and solid if/when he met the birth family. He really wasn't, at 21, because we'd be through some serious loss in our lives (when he was 15/18), and it had all kind of knocked him for a loop.
He had curiosity about the birth mother, but of course he didn't know her from Adam. She thought he'd show up and just, apparently, pick up where everything left off. She's someone with "capacity issues", and she comes from an extremely uneducated and deprived background; which is sad, of course, but which essentially amounted her to not being "bright enough" (hate to use those words, but they're easiest) to understand all the potential issues and be sensitive toward him and his perspective.
But, now he knows who she is and who the rest of her family is, so that's good. Meeting her and the rest of them, though, knocked him for a loop too. It took him a good two years to be able to process everything, really. At the time, it the relationships between him and us (me, his father, siblings, etc.); but it was hard for me to watch him go through some of what he went through. The only reason he met the birth mother at all was that some agency contacted him after he'd just turned 21, saying the woman wanted to meet him. He said he had no interest, but I said, "Well, maybe you could just call her (the case worker who signed the letter) and at least let her know you're OK." I regretted suggesting that, because from there he was kind of pushed into something he wasn't mature enough for.
I had no problem with his meeting the person or knowing who the people were. I'd always just hoped he'd be plenty mature when he did. He wasn't. When he got that letter I was just hoping he could let the woman know he's OK, but then wait another while before pursuing meeting further. But, of course, what strangers who deal in adoption do can be assume that 21 is completely mature, believe it's "always" the best thing to reunite, and not even consider asking the adoptive mother of a 21-year-old (because "he's all grown up" and an adult). I wish I'd had the chance to tell that social worker what my son had been through for the six or so prior years, and point out to her the things that made me know that he was far from ready for being knocked for a giant loop yet again and before he'd really even recovered from the first time.
In the end, my son is closer to us than ever (but that can happen once kids get into mid-twenties anyway, so I don't know if meeting those people played even a small role or not in our growing closer.
Your story sounds so familiar and heartbreaking as a mother. I was raised in a different "culture" then what my birth family was. It was hard to find an identity once I found them. I thought I was struggling to find out who I was growing up but when the two different "cultures" came together I had to figure it out again. Luckily I had a my husband who could help at the time. I am now able to take what I have learned from both families and become who I am today.
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