Saturday, July 21, 2007

shelly: a (very) brief history

i am a 32-year-old adult adoptee with wonderfully conflicting feelings about searching or not searching or when to search or when not to search. i am on a 4 year search-obsession cycle but for one reason or another i have always stopped short of actually intiating the real thing. it has looked something like this.

the day i turned 18-- called lutheran social services to request search forms; received said forms, filled them out and threw them away. i was living in my parents' house at the time and it felt too weird.

at age 22-- probably with the hope of finding some kind of connection or meaning that was for a thousand reasons, otherwise eluding me, i called lss again. requested the forms. filled them out, filed them away; i wasn't in the best condition to be meeting someone who would then have to suffer the anquish of having created me.

at 26-- having met several people over the last couple of years who were members of the adoption triad, feeling sufficiently removed from my parents' home and immediate daily lives, being more like an adult and a lot more stable than i was at 22, i called again. with no other excuses for why this couldn't happen right now, i concluded that i couldn't afford it and since i was living in NYC, it would just be too complicated.

age 30-- my friends and colleagues draw my attention to a newspaper photo of a young woman who looks eerily like me. everyone i know is immediately convinced that this person is my biological sister and they all want to stalk her to find out. i try to remain reasonable, holding fast to the knowledge that there is a very very small chance this person who looks like me is actually related to me. but she does look like me. a lot like me and this is my very first experience of that. i have never known anyone who looks like me. it's an experience that adoptees just don't have. people will say it, but we laugh at them when they are not looking. "you look just like your dad!" says some person who doesn't know that my dad had nothing to do with my genetic composition. then we laugh at them. but this woman does look like me and since it was timely, on the 4 year cycle (which was totally accidental, by the way, i only noticed it when i was 30) i went to lss again and asked for some new forms. search request forms. but i like things to move very slooooowly, so i asked for only the non-identifying info.

a few weeks later i received a 5 page letter that told me all about what my bio parents looked like, their hobbies, their families.... i'm still riding that wave.

at 34, i know that phil is going to make me request the full identifying search. but right now i am only 32.

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