Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I didn't search because I was looking for a new family


I didn't search because I was looking for a new family.

My decision to search is not a reflection of you as a parent. I didn't decide to search for my biological family because you somehow failed me as a parent.

I did not decide to search because you as a parent were not enough.

In fact, although my decision to search certainly affects you, it actually has very little to do with you.

My decision to search is primarily due to the innate, inherent desire of every human being to want to know from whom and where we began.

My decision to search has more to do with the natural and normal longing to know one's origins, one's history, to answer such basic questions as, "Who am I?" or "Why am I the way I am?"

It's not that your love as a parent was not enough, it was simply that your love can not answer the questions that linger and hover over me. Your love cannot tell me why my original parents relinquished me. Your love cannot tell me what happened. Your love cannot give me the answers that have eluded me all of my life.

Only searching can help me to face these questions. And although I may not find the answers that I seek, I hope to find more of who I am along the way.

The best thing you can do is to understand that my desire to search is not about you as a parent. The best thing you can do is to be there for me, to let me know that you're not going anywhere, that you're secure enough in our relationship to let me take this journey.

The best thing you can do is to let go, while continuing to love me, knowing that although your love cannot answer all the questions I have, it can be a source of strength.

The best thing you can do is to not pull away or feel threatened by my desire to know more.

I am not leaving you in search of a new family. I am holding onto you as I search for the ones who--not unlike you--made me the person I am today.


13 comments:

Melissa said...

Aptly put! As a parent who has adopted I firmly believe that it is my responsibility to present to my darling princess honest answers to who she is. I was not adopted but not knowing my paternal grandfather's background left me with unanswered questions. Imagine my surprise when I find out through the census that I am one quarter Jewish (primary language spoken at home - Hebrew). Living a community that has a large Jewish population, I find myself asking more question, curious on so many levels. Maybe this was to prepare my heart for the journey I will embark with my princess--to be open, to understand just a tiny bit of the emotions of her heart.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Melissa for your comment, and your understanding! Indeed, your personal experience does allow you insight into what your daughter is experiencing...

JaeRan said...

I don't usually post, but I thought this was just such an important post. Thanks! Can I link it?

JaeRan said...

Oops, I meant "I don't usually comment."

Melissa said...

Thanks for asking, JaeRan. You're so considerate. I understand why you asked, but, please know that I don't ever have a problem with you linking things. :) Go right ahead.

Mia_h_n said...

I like it.
I think that perhaps because some of the most vocal searchers, at least in my experience, are unhappy or have difficulties with their adoptive families, this becomes the general perception of the reason for wanting to search. But it's not always so.

art-sweet said...

Thank you for your eloquent post! We decided to search for our son's firstmother (adopted from Guatemala) so that he could have exactly these answers as he grows up. Seeing his smile on her face was a remarkable experience.

Melissa said...

art-sweet, thanks for stopping by...and thank you for not being afraid to allow your son to know his origins...

Anonymous said...

I am an adult adoptee aged 50. I searched and found my birthmother 16 years ago and have had a wonderful relationship. However, my adoptive mother has never accepted or supported my actions till this day. She is now 82 and our relationship is marred by her ongoing resentment. It tears me apart as she is my mum, I love her dearly yet I cannot make her understand why I had to find out who I truly was. To her I did the 'unforgivable', I 'betrayed' her, I was 'ungrateful'. She feels she failed as parent despite me continually telling she has not. She has not even tried to understand & I doubt at now 82 we will ever resolve the issue. Her hurt hurts me deeply & is on going. I've searched everywhere for help for her but little is available for adoptive parents - it is all geared towards the birthmother. I'm so glad I found your website & hope to show her some of the comments from other adoptive parents. I don't know if it will help but I have to try.

Faith said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't know where you are today as far as your relationship with your mother is concerned, but I can understand your pain. I searched for and found my biological mother as well, and unfortunately my adoptive mother had some of the same exact feelings (betrayal, resentment), in the beginning - as a matter of fact, for a while I sadly thought that we would have to part ways. I had to constantly reassure her that no matter what we had gone through as a family, that no one could ever take her place. I love her and always want her in my life, but I didn't give in to the temptation to feel guilty or in any way bad about the well needed reunion with my bio family. I think that it takes years sometimes for some adoptive mothers to understand that we're not trying to replace them. I hope that you and your mother can get to a place of peace and reconcile this matter very soon. Letting her know that her feelings are in no way isolated by means of this site is a great way to help her feel less afraid and confused by your very natural desires.

Faith said...

As an adoptee, I don't think that I have ever heard it stated as well as that. Thanks for your voice!

D Schrepp said...

Beautifully said. Touched my heart. What every adoptive parent needs to hear. Thank you for sharing ❤

Anonymous said...

So how is the birth mother supposed to respond to this? She is merely a repository of information? This is the woman who endured shame, the loss of her reputation and great loss at losing her child. Her choice -- made out of fear and desperation -- is the reason why another woman gets to be called "mother," and then "grandmother," and maybe even "great grandmother." Then, in reunion, she is sought out only to provide answers to questions and to provide medical information? If her lost child wants to build a relationship, what is expected of the birth mother now? She accepts a "secondary" role, even though she is the FOUNDER of another woman's family? This is just like the trauma she experienced decades earlier, when she was viewed as "not good enough," only now she is older and wiser. She KNOWS that she was/is her child's mother and that it was her right to be able to raise her child herself; she can see that the reasons for the separation were wrong. She knows now that the system is evil, that she was duped and that her family left her alone and abandoned. But in reunion, she needs to suppress her maternal instincts, to build a wall of protection. Because the years lost can never be restored; the relationship has been severed and no matter how much they try, mother and child will never fully recover from the damage done. So to the poster who wrote, "Seeing his smile on her face was a remarkable experience," my response to that is, "Yes, for you it was 'remarkable,' but I'll bet 'your' child's mother sobbed in grief after that visit." Haven't you gained enough already? If you plan to use a birth mother as a databank of information and are not ready to accept her as a mother to your child -- of EXACTLY equal importance as you -- then ask instead for a non-identifying report. If you are simply "curious" and are not able to offer her a seat at your family table, at a place of honor for what she has provided to you and your family and as a way to honor 'your' child's heritage, then do NOT contact her and throw her back into the trauma and sadness of the past. That is simple cruelty. And I would also add that adopted people please be very clear as to any anger issues you have towards your birth mother. Understand that scapegoating her is extremely cruel. It takes two to tango, so there is man who shirked his responsibility to provide and protect both her and you. She most likely had the weight of the world on her shoulders -- emotionally, mentally and physically.