I woke up with thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.
One big "adoption problem" first mothers and adoptees have to face is "lost time." If an adoptee is lucky enough to open their adoption and find their natural family, and the reunion happens, there is so much time, perhaps years, you cannot replace or reinvent because you simply weren't there. You can't get around it, no how - no way!
Transracial Adoptees (children raised outside their culture and country) instinctively know there are stories, culture, history, language and even people you didn't experience in your adoptive family. Adoptees will try to balance this out by reading up, if you know your country or tribe and if information is in books or on the internet. Like my friends, I read everything I could get my hands on before I went into my reunion.
And our birth parents must realize they cannot fill in those years in a matter of minutes. The burden for both is "how do you catch up or make up for lost time?"
These messy details are never discussed by the adoption industry because obviously in their policies, they do not expect there will be reunions since adoptions are closed and records tightly sealed in all but seven states!
One story that hurt to hear was an adoptee friend who found her siblings were very jealous of her and the time she spent with her birth mother, once she'd opened the adoption records and found them, not an easy thing to do. Her brother and sisters made their mother-daughter reunion very very difficult. Jealousy can be a big hazard in reunions. My friend tried to spend time with everyone in her family to calm their fears (she wasn't going to steal their mother away) but nothing could fill in the large gaps of time she was missing from her family, lost through a closed adoption.
After several years passed, her siblings still seemed overly-protective of their mother, acting like they wished my friend had not found them. My friend felt bullied and stepped back. This is called Reunion PullBack, when you (the adoptee) have to distance yourself from situations you never expected in reuniting with your first family. No adoptee can predict the emotions you will encounter in meeting new people, even if they are your blood relatives and siblings.
Adoptees are expected to be wise and know how to navigate through all these tensions and somehow put everyone at ease, which is a very difficult thing to do but I have seen adoptees do it.
In story after story I hear, lost time cannot be replaced. Even if you spend a month alone with your birthmother, you cannot catch up on all you missed, adoptees tell me. You have to start at the day you meet and go from there, and hope your first family will recognize they need to be gentle with you (the adoptee) and not bombard you with negativity and drama. (I keep reminding myself adoptees did not choose to be adopted - yet we are thrown into these situations and then expected to be OK.)
The time you spent with your adoptive family cannot be erased either and has its own responsibilities since you (the adoptee) are their child, and they put in the time and money and effort to raise you. Adoptees do feel guilt when they ask questions or start to look into opening their adoption records. That guilt is what I call "the gratitude attitude." I know one adoptee who said he cannot ask his adoptive mother anything about his adoption because she will think he's ungrateful.
In my own experience with reunion, I feel it is up to the adoptee if they share any news of their first family and finding and meeting them. Most adoptees tell me they do not discuss any reunion details with their adoptive parents! Why? The possibility exists of being dumped and abandoned by your adoptive parents, even left out of the will and inheritance, which has happened to more than one adoptee I know. In other words, you are punished (emotionally and financially) for looking and god forbid, you actually go meet them!
That is a strange expectation for adoptees: Protecting your adoptive parents from the truth, protecting your relationship with them, then having to lie to protect their feelings and calm their insecurity they might lose you.
This balancing act is expected of adoptees. Reunions can bring about a whole new set of expections from your "new" first family and ultimately ruin your relationship with your adoptive family.
My point here is the adoption industry created "unreal expectations" for the adoption triad which can lead to lies, deceit and still perpetuate society's belief in their propaganda that adoption creates a "forever family."
PART THREE will continue in a week... Please share your thoughts in the comments... Trace