The anniversaries of discovery and reunion have passed. I have kept a private journal of reunion events and progress as opposed to writing about them in this forum.
It would be absurd to expect that every feeling or experience I have had in this process has been positive, yet when I detail anything negative – even in a private journal that only I can see – I get a knot of anxiety and a strong urge to destroy what I have written. I have to assume that is primarily fear of rejection – much documentation exists of the ‘good adoptee’ where we feel we must be perfect and agreeable to everyone at all times lest we be cast aside.
My mother, too, goes through her own process. I wonder how much I am able to correctly intuit about her experience. I can sense her pulling away and drawing back toward me, and I want to talk about that with her but the time never seems right. I don’t honestly think she would ever decide it’s all too much and cut contact with me, but I know the fear of that exists anyway, at a nearly subconscious level. I try to draw it into view in order to reason with it but am largely unsuccessful.
I want to feel entirely embraced. I want to feel that my mother is proud of me, delighted to have me in her life, enthusiastic to introduce me to everyone in it. But I know she must grapple with her own process, figure out how to fit me into her life. Decide how to talk about a 50 year old woman who has suddenly appeared. How to address the fact that she relinquished a baby at 17 years old, to people who are not especially close to her but she has nonetheless known for decades. I get that, intellectually. But my heart wants something else.
I have not resolved my feelings toward my adoptive parents, either. I am still very hurt, angry, and resentful that they never told me the truth about myself, particularly because so many other people knew. I know they loved me but now I must also ask – how much did they love me and how much did they love the idea of their child, their family of a certain minimum size. What, truly, was their expectation when they adopted infants so relatively late in their lives? I always attributed their not really playing with us to the fact that they were so much older, and raised in a different time with different ideas about child rearing. And maybe that was exactly the truth of it. Or maybe they would have been different if we had been born to them, or at least adopted at an earlier point in their lives. I can never know the truth and it frustrates me. I want to say that nothing is different about how I feel about my adoptive parents but it’s just not true.
So here I am, a year from discovery, trying to repair the emotional bond with my deceased adoptive parents that has been strained and damaged by the revelation that they lied to me my entire life. Malicious or not, justified or not – they lied to me and hid from me what they had no right to hide. Every individual has the right to know their biological truth and I am angry to think that they never saw me as an individual who had rights to that knowledge. In their minds, they had every right to decide what I was allowed to know about myself – even in adulthood as a wholly independent person.
And on the other main theme, I struggle to be patient as the bond with my b-mother slowly grows, waiting and hoping for the time I might feel enthusiastically incorporated.
For now, on the whole, I feel untethered.