Thursday, August 21, 2008

but i really do want to

i wish that i could have the satisfaction of attempting a search without the guilt of searching. i wish the triad was divisible. but it isn't. there is no me without my birthparents and my adoptive parents and there is no search for the former without some kind of effect on the latter.

but i am so ready!

for years i maintained all kinds of reasons to not be ready. i believed i couldn't present myself to someone so significant without having a complete, tidy package to present. i didn't want to disappoint. so all of those things about myself that made social interaction uncomfortable, or even shameful, were sufficient reasons to not introduce my mess-of-a-self to the people who created me. but i don't have that anymore. all of the things that shamed me so deeply have been resolved. i am healthy. i have completed the educational goals i began. i have a job that is right for me and that i am happy about. i have hobbies and research interests that i am passionate about. i have a partner whom i love and adore. i am ready to not be plagued with secrets, half-truths and shame when introduced to anyone. even the most significant strangers. i believe i am even as ready as i will ever be to accept not being introduced to members of my birth family. to the extent that one can really prepare for the possibility of disinterested biological parents, i think i have. but it feels like there is so much more at stake. so much more than my own feelings, fears, joys, questions, pains and curiosities.

it is as simple as writing a 300 dollar check and as complicated as all of the families involved. is this how scared and overwhelmed one feels when it is finally time to begin a search? is this the pinnacle of understanding that must precede a decision that could potentially affect so many? do we really live in a culture that stigmatizes adoption so much that i have to feel this way?


phil said...

That's what I get for posting from my desktop application instead of coming here first. I didn't check to see if you had posted, I just went on my merry way to post my latest missive on adoption.

Everyone is different. All I can do is share my own experience, knowing that you are likely to have a different one.

My relationship with my adoptive parents is somewhat tenuous. I haven't lived in the same state with them for fifteen years. Though I visit them nearly twice a year, they have come to visit me only twice (my a-mom has come a third time). For a graduation and a wedding. I love them, and I'm glad they are in my life, but they are not really a part of my day-to-day life. Doing the search without them was the easiest thing about it. I did tell them, eventually, but they are still not much involved in it. That's just our pattern. Your pattern with your parents will be different, and taking a cue from me is likely not to help.

I did feel weird about doing the search. And I didn't tell other people who are involved in my day-to-day life. (I still am so shocked I told you the way that I did.) And part of that was out of shame. I felt guilt and worried others would judge me poorly.

For me, at some point, the need to know outweighed all of that. But I couldn't bring myself to search until it did.

You're going to be the only person to know when it's the right time. And even when you do, you'll still doubt that it's the right time. But your need to know will outweigh the doubt. It will never go away, probably. But you'll do it anyway.

And when you do, you can always lean on me, if you want.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shelly,

Just wanted to let you know that what you wrote helps me understand what my son *might* be feeling. His aparents found me and I sometimes wonder if that was the right thing to do. I don't know that my son - young, but adult - was really ready for this, or for that matter whether or not I was. I tried my best to whip myself into shape, but heck, idk. It's good when we're together and then pretty much non-existant when we're apart (he doesn't respond to me.)

Listening to your frustrations of "this family and that" kind of helps me get what my son may be going through, even though we are in a different place, so to speak.

I would love to hear more of your thoughts 'out loud', but have to admit adoption feelings are some of my most intimate feelings and I don't know if I could blog about them.

Best of luck to you!