Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Simple Question…A Not So Simple Answer

The 2 things I am most frequently asked whenever I tell someone that I am adopted is “Do you know your b-Mom?” and “Have you thought about searching for her?” The simple answer to both those questions is “No” and “Yes”. But then there are no simple answers in life, are there? So here is the less simple answer to both those questions.

“Do I know my b-Mom?” NO. I know a little about her from what I was told by my a-parents but I do not KNOW her. I was once told by my a-Mom that she and my a-Dad had my OBC with my b-Mom’s name on it but since I started the process to adopt my own child and needed a newly issued BC I learned from my a-Dad that he in fact does not have in his possession my OBC nor is it possible for him to get it. I was born in NY and records of my closed adoption were sealed with no one, including myself, ever permitted access to them.

“Have I thought about searching for her?” YES. But thinking about it is as far as my mind has or will probably ever take me. There are many reasons for this.
1) I had a very comfortable and happy life as an adoptee. Sure, there were situations that I wish had happened differently. But I was happy. I never thought of adoption as a bad thing. Adoption in my family was “normal”. I was adopted. My brother was fostered and then adopted. My a-parents fostered my brother’s brother. And my a-parents served as “emergency” foster parents well into my teen years. Fostering and adoption were a way of life for my family. It was a way of life that I didn’t question or think too much about. It just WAS! This was how our family was formed and to put into motion the act of searching would be to question the comfort and happiness, the way of life, my a-parents provided for me.
2) My a-Mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was 19. She passed away after finally losing her 10-year battle with the disease. I feared that if I ever broached the subject of my adoption and a possible search during these 10 years my a-Mom would have thought I was trying to replace her before she was even gone, and I could not bear to think of causing her this worry and pain. Now that she is gone I do not want my a-Dad to think that I am trying to replace the mother that I no longer have. It is a vicious cycle. My a-parents loved me with all their heart and soul and I cannot imagine returning this love by searching for the woman who chose for me to be raised by them rather than raise me herself.
3) I cannot begin to imagine the reasons my b-Mom chose to place me for adoption. But she did, and I cannot change that moment in history. While I once considered her decision a “great act of love” I now know it must have been a painful choice…one that she may have decided to put behind her and not share with her present family. I do not feel it right to put my own desires before hers and barge through her door announcing my arrival with arms outstretched waiting for her embrace. My hope and prayer is that she HAS moved on with her life and that she has a loving family who fills the void that I created. I cannot be the one to rehash the pain and heartache she must have felt when she said her last goodbye to me…I WILL NOT!
4) Again, I do not know the circumstances of my b-Mom’s life. And at this point in my own life I do not have the emotional ability to face more rejection and heartache. I could not stand to learn that she wants nothing to do with me, or find that she has since passed away. I am happy in my world thinking that she wanted a better life for me so chose to end my 2 years of neglect by placing me for adoption. I am not ready, and I may never be ready, to learn the truth of my adoption and her relinquishment. It is not a story I want to hear.

I am in a good place in my life right now. I have been happily married for 12 years to the most wonderful man in the world. He loves me and cares for me and supports me in everything I do, including if I decided to search for my b-Mom. He and I, together, decided to adopt our first child from Guatemala. Our daughter will know her story and if possible she will know her b-Mom so that when she is ready to have a relationship with her that bridge will already be in place.

So, NO, I do not know my birthmother. And, YES, I have thought about searching. I do not doubt that I will continue thinking about it for the rest of my life. But for now I am happy with the life I have and with the people who are a part of it. I know there are questions that I so desperately want answered. But those questions and answers will have to wait until the day when I am ready to ask and then to listen. Until then I will continue to simply answer NO and YES when curiosity leads people to ask me those 2 simple questions.

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