Not What I Thought

I started this journey so long ago. Sometimes I wonder how I got here. The journey, as you all know, started when I lost my daughter to DIA (domestic infant adoption). The two of us were supposed to experience an open adoption which neither of us did. My thoughts and hopes then turned to reunion. I thought we would reunite once she was of age and that we would integrate into each others lives and families like extended family. Reunion was not what I thought. I found my daughter online and sent her a Facebook message to confirm that it was her. The first reaction to me from her should have been a warning shot but I left the door open. She and I enjoyed a pretty decent online reunion for the first 2 years and then it all fell apart. I found some online groups to join to give me some insight and I found myself in disbelief at this thing called “silent reunion” many mothers spoke of. I remember thinking to myself that things were a bit rocky but we surely would survive as my reunion couldn’t be anything like theirs. After all, I was supposed to have an open adoption and surely the adoptive mother had passed along all my letters and gifts for the first year. Funny how nothing has been “what I thought”. I think back to how many times I can say those words. I have been electronically reunited for 8 years this month. The first 2 were filled with relationship building, then the communication abruptly was shortened to quarterly and for the last few years it has been the words “thank you” sent to me on Facebook after my birthday greetings. Two words, once per year. That is what reunion is.

I never got to see my adult child face to face. I have never heard her voice or smelled her hair and I likely never will. Reunion is hard. It is frequently faced with rejection on both sides. Rarely is there ever a good or valid reason for the rejection which makes it all the more crazy making. Those of us who have been on the receiving end of this rejection often  we spend many restless hours wondering what we said or did that has caused this to happen. In reality, it is nothing we have done. Our family member just cannot see us as just a plain human being who wants to know them. Instead they seem to make up an evil fantasy about us in their mind and accuse us of things we have not said or done. This is the justification they use to reconcile their irrational behavior toward us. Sometimes there is no accusation, they just no longer respond to emails, phone calls or letters.

I used to wonder how a mother could reject her adult child wanting reunion. I no longer do. I think many of them are concerned about the very reality of reunion that I have just laid out. Some adult adoptees do reunite to get genetic/medical answers only which reduces us to nothing more than a bodily function and some want to inflict serious emotional pain on the mother whom they believe left/abandoned them. Others, it seems (as I am not an adoptee), do truly want a relationship but adoption has skewed the lines and damaged both parties so heavily, that they can’t seem to put the square peg in the round hole. Occasionally, you hear of a family that was able to put it together and become restored to each other. It is rare and I think it is what gives us hope that our family will be whole again. For me, hope was dangerous. It left me with fantasy instead of reality. Reality is a hard pill to swallow but for me it has been healing to find acceptance, to grieve tremendously and to focus on finding joy in the reality of what my life has become after adoption.