Reunion is discovering how much you’ve lost.

My blog stats page says that one of the search engine terms used to find my blog today was “i wanted to be adopted is something wrong.” I’m not going to pick on this or single it out for detailed analysis, but it made me think about what’s going on now in my life and how much of what I’ve lost through adoption I’m still discovering. I do think it tells us just how much adoption has been romanticized in our society that people wish it had happened to them. On the other hand, if we assume for a moment that the reason for this wish is a desire to be less connected to one’s family (and I can’t imagine another reason for it), then it also tells us that at least on some level people don’t entirely buy the dogma about adoption forming the same connections as biological relation. Otherwise such wishes would be entirely nonsensical.

Things have been going a little better with my adoptive parents. Thank you, all of you who posted supportive comments about that. My a-mother visited again yesterday and played with our daughter for a while. She and I talked a little bit, and I told her that I would be visiting my newfound relatives next month. She didn’t seem bothered by that. At one point she referred to my natural mother as “the mother” which was weird but I let it pass. But I think that no matter how accepting and supportive they try to be about it, reunion always threatens a-parents. I think that, just like the person wishing he or she had been adopted, they know on some level that there are biological connections that can’t be created artificially.

Yesterday I got an email from my brother. My natural brother. I can’t tell you how much that blew my mind when it happened, because I thought I would be the one tracking down him and my sister. We have exchanged emails a little bit now and I already feel a strong connection to this guy who I have not even had a spoken conversation with yet. I think we’re going to get along well. I sure hope so.

Some people might say it’s all in my head. Actually, my wife’s friend pretty much said so, not to me but to my wife when they were talking about this. I can certainly understand this argument intellectually even though it pisses me off to no end. The idea is pretty simple. If I feel like there should be a connection then I will feel a connection. It’s kind of like a placebo effect.

But here’s where it’s wrong: All personal connections are in the head. We feel connected to the other people in our lives through our remembered shared experiences with them and the things we know and believe about them, and all of that is in the head, too. It doesn’t really matter whether we feel connected to our biological relatives because we really are physically wired to feel that way or because we just think we are, the result is the same.

I have a niece and three nephews I’ve never met. I have been an uncle for 15 years and I never knew it. My daughter has had cousins all along. It’s like coming home to a place you’ve never been, to a family you never knew, and realizing how much you’ve missed out on.

And how much you’ve missed them.

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5 Responses to “Reunion is discovering how much you’ve lost.”


  1. 1 suz July 19, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    wow. this made me cry. i agree with your statements.

  2. 2 imtina July 19, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I think your wife’s friend doesn’t understand what the meaning of support is. And, it’s all just more of the tired old idea that those who are not involved or touched by adoption know more about the experience of it than *you* do. That is SO maddening. You never get to grow up and have big boy feelings and experiences when you’re an adoptee. It never ends, this adoptee stuff. It really doesn’t.

    Tina

  3. 3 iBastard July 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Oh don’t worry, my wife was all like, WTF? STFU! Well, in friendlier ways, but it really honked her off too.

  4. 4 Julie July 20, 2007 at 2:38 am

    That “all in your head” stuff would be akin to our having issues as a result of being adopted *only* because we were TOLD we were adopted. WTF?? Right. Keep it a secret and we won’t have any of those silly issues.

    If people think that, I would like to switch their babies at birth and do a study. Think it doesn’t make a difference? Oh wait – you’re not willing to participate in my study? Why not?

  5. 5 Coco July 20, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    “It doesn’t really matter whether we feel connected to our biological relatives because we really are physically wired to feel that way or because we just think we are, the result is the same.”

    Bingo.

    The connection is real to us no matter how it comes about. It is important, and I always laugh when people talk about how one thing or another makes it “less” somehow.

    It’s either that or screaming uncontrollably, and that gets old at parties, ya know? 😉


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