Sunday, December 28, 2008

Adoption and Vacation

Adoption itself came up exactly once during my visit with my (adoptive) family in Ohio. Christmas Eve, my brother came over to the hotel with his wife and their son. This was just before we would go over to my dad's extended family Christmas gathering.

My nephew said, "Uncle Phil, I know you are adopted." And I replied "I know it, too. Indeed, I'm acutely aware of that fact." My nephew is eight years old, so he probably didn't understand the implication in my words. He said nothing else, as the television was on and he is easily distracted.

That was it. There was no follow-up from his mom, who was in the room at the time. But it told me that his parents must have discussed my adoption at some point. I have no idea what they might have said. Maybe I should have used it as an opportunity to broach the subject with my sister-in-law and, when he returned to the room, my brother. But I didn't. It was so out-of-the-blue, and none of the adults seem interested in talking about it at all. So that it was it.

Having been in New York visiting my in-laws for a day and a half, I've already talked quite a bit about adoption with them. They seem very interested in my experiences and my reunion.

I also had the chance to go to an adoption support group meeting down in the Village. It was of special interest because Betty Jean Lifton was supposed to be in attendance. (She wrote Journey of the Adopted Self, for those that are unfamiliar with the name. One of the books I highly recommend.)

It was a good group. It always seems to help me, not just to talk about my own things, but to hear others working through some of the same issues. The support and shared experiences in that setting (and others - such as the forum online) are very helpful for me, I have found.

Lifton participated in the group. It was nice, actually, to have her simply as a participant, rather than a speaker. She gave her reactions to some of the stories that others shared.

I also got to talk with her for several minutes after the meeting ended. It was a little odd to be sharing some of my story with such a well-known author and therapist. But it was a good kind of odd, you know? We exchanged e-mails (as she did with others in the group) and asked us to keep in touch.

The difference between my time in Ohio and my time in New York (even though I've been in NY for only a day and a half) is the difference between night and day.

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