Thursday, August 20, 2009


My husband asks me, What are you feeling?

I reply with my usual, I don’t know.

He reminds me that I don’t know usually means I’m afraid to say what I’m feeling, because I don’t know why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.

Insecure, I say.

That is the only word I can dig up to summarize what I have been feeling for the past week.

I feel so insecure. But I don’t know why or about what.

He and I continue to talk, but to no avail. So he says, do you want to pray?

I say half-heartedly, That’s fine. You go first.

Within minutes I am sobbing uncontrollably, and I begin to realize what the word insecure means to me.

* * *

We are in the fragile beginnings of a reunion process.

In some ways the word insecure is an understatement.

Initially, the word insecure refers to how unsure I currently feel about who I am and where I belong. It refers to how fragile and delicate this all feels.

But ultimately, it refers to this gnawing and implacable sense that I have placed myself in a position in which I could potentially lose everything.

I could end up with less than what I had with which to begin. I could end up losing those whom I love.

I could end up with nothing and no one.

* * *

Not only do I fear the possibility that my Omma and Appa could suddenly decide to renege and back out, but I also fear that I am endangering my relationship with my Mom and Dad.

I fear that this process is simply too painful and too hurtful for all four parents, and that consequently they will begin to pull away from me—that they will decide this is too much, and subsequently, snatch their hearts from me and flee.

I fear that I will lose all four parents—and be left with no one.

* * *

Some would attempt to comfort me by saying these fears are irrational and foolish.

That’s why I appreciate my husband. He does not know how to lie. He must tell the truth.

He tells me that although there are very real risks and fears involved, we can always hope. It is never wrong to hope, or to love.

* * *

I knew the risks involved in searching for my biological parents.

I had seven years to consider all the possible scenarios for a reunion.

I would be deceiving myself to say that the fears I experience are invalid. They’re quite real.

I would be deceiving myself to say that it is not possible that my Omma and Appa could one day decide that they would prefer to sever contact.

I would be in denial to tell myself that the introduction of my biological parents into my life has not created tension, awkwardness, and uncertainty in my relationships with my Mom and Dad.

We’re not dealing with fairy tales here. We’re dealing with real life involving real human beings—all with our own flaws, fears, and imperfections.

All I can do is hope and pray and fight to love all four of my parents with truth and honesty—in the same way that a mother can love all her children. She may develop a unique relationship with each child, yet her ability to love each just as much as the other is not compromised in doing so.

Why can the reverse not be true? That I could love each parent just as much as the other in the midst of inherent differences and dynamics? Why not? I have a different relationship with my Mom than I do with my Dad, but I love them just the same.

* * *

Yet I must surrender to the truth that I cannot control how people will respond and react to what is happening. I can only guide my own heart.

I cannot control whether my Omma or Appa will choose to remain in contact with me. I cannot control whether my Mom and Dad will open their hearts to my biological parents. I cannot control what each involved person will choose to do.

I can only choose what I will do.

I choose love.

And I only hope that such a choice, even with all the risks involved, will triumph in the end.


Anonymous said...

I, too, am adopted and have met my birthparents. It's taken years for my adopted parents to come to know my birthparents. I, too, didn't know what to feel at first. It's ok not to feel love and to be confused. They are strangers, but yet somehow we are drawn to the unknown. Not knowing our whole lives who we looked like and the questions that come with that. It's ok to feel how you do. It's a process. You will go through many different feelings. Even today, for me, 7 years later..I am still processing it. Everything happens for a reason so trust in the One who helped it all happen. God Bless, Melissa. Hang in there :)

kyungmee said...

It has never been easy for my family to openly talk about Korea and my family there. In their own way, they reached out to me when they felt they needed to. My parents in Korea had passed away while I was young and still living there but I did reunite with my siblings in 2004. Part of me wished that 'we' all could meet and get along as a big family but my reality did not work out that way. I understand insecurity and how it can play out for everyone involved. Since I have found my family in Korea..I came back to losing my Father and Sister here in the States less than two years later. Now it is my Mother and me here. And since the loss I had here..I had no contact from Korea. I went to find my family I had lost to come back to lose the family I grew up with. And with all this mother and I have gotton closer and able to talk more of the past and of my family still in Korea. We have a long road ahead of us but maybe we can get through it together. And maybe, we can meet up with my surviving siblings in korea down the road! You never know..insecurities and all..what life has in store down the road. Good luck to you, Melissa.

Mila said...

Thank you, "Anonymous" and Kyungmee for your kind understanding and encouragement...I know you're right, that it will just take time...

Thank you so much for what you shared so openly. You both clearly understand loss and grief and the complex emotions that define the adoption experience...

I know that even with all the emotional complexities, there is always hope...

Mia_h_n said...

You are so brave. As always I'm in awe of your resilience and courage and willingness to keep your head high. You are such an inspiration to me, you have no idea!

I must say I feel rather at a loss for more words. I think that for the first time I feel a bit like an outsider, not having gone "there". So I'm not gonna pretend to know anything about it.

sherinala said...

I fear that this process is simply too painful and too hurtful for all four parents, and that consequently they will begin to pull away from me—that they will decide this is too much, and subsequently, snatch their hearts from me and flee.

I fear that I will lose all four parents—and be left with no one.

_---Melissa - I completely understand. It is a VERY delicate situation... and many complicated emotions involved with it! But our hearts have held these special places for our birth parents - somewhere tucked away, we have always have a special place with special love for them... and I am so happy that you are able to explore it!

It's ok to feel so overwhelmed and confused - and the fear of losing four of our parents is a very frightening thought and fear. AND LEGITIMATE!!

I wondered if my omma would think "this is too much... i know you are alive and well, and now i can have peace." I always used to worry that "WHAT IF SHE LEAVES ME AGAIN!? WHAT WILL I DO?"

It is a very painful experience, but you can do it!!! Sending hugs and hugs!

Anonymous said...

Give yourself ,your birthparents and adopted parents time. I am sure in the end both set of parents are thankful to each other for the part they have and will play in your life. Do not be to hard on yourself for what you are feeling. It is great that you are being open to your feelings.