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Getting Support for Your Search

November 22, 2011

Getting Support for your Search

Support groups can be an invaluable tool for people in all walks of life. Sharing stories with others who are embarking on a similar path or those who are in need of someone’s helpful ear is a Godsend.

Last night, a local adoptee arranged a meeting for adoptees at a local pizza joint. Our small group of ten spent a couple hours together, breaking bread and sharing our experience, strength and hope. One attendee was a single father of four, two of whom were adopted.  Two were significant others to two adoptees, and one was an adoptive mother of a young girl. Most of the group were members of Adoption Knowledge affiliates, or AKA. You can check out their website at http://www.adoptionknowledge.org.

One adoptee, a woman in her early forties, had recently met her birth mother. I could see the excitement on her face and the joy she had of meeting her birth mother for the first time. This is known as the honeymoon stage in adoption reunions. Sixteen years ago, I was experiencing a similar gamut of feelings such as joy, euphoria, grief, anger, depression. The emotional rollercoaster that can sideswipe adoptees and birth mothers can be formidable.

It is vital for adoptees not to travel this journey alone. One adoptee in our meeting searched for fifteen years before finding her birth mother. For about ten of those years, she almost became obsessed with her search, almost to the point of her search becoming unhealthy. Fortunately, her wisdom allowed her to take periodic time outs from her quest to find her biological roots. When it was the right time, she found her birth mother through a third party. Her reunion journey is now two years and counting and I could not be happier for her.

Another female adoptee who attended had identifying information on her birth family but was unable to initiate the next step in searching. I understand her fear of writing a letter or wanting to make a call, as I was afraid to do. Asking for a third party to initiate contact is a great idea because one never knows what response a birth parent or other birth family member will give. Do they want a relationship with the adoptee?  Did the birth mother or father keep you a secret from the rest of her family? Do they even want to meet or have a relationship with you?

In my opinion, the third party should be someone who is not directly emotionally invested with the searcher. This way, if the birth relative does not want to have contact with the adoptee, the relay of the information will likely be less devastating. There are “Search Angels” out there who help adoptees and or birth relatives search for free. These people are blessings to those who have spent years searching for their biological roots. Their knowledge of searching is invaluable and they are not usually heavily emotionally invested.

In hindsight, my search and reunion went too quickly. I did have a third party contact my birth mother, and fortunately, she embraced our reunion. Our initial reunion was too long and it happened over Christmas and New Year. I stayed with them at their house (which I know now is not recommended). Given the chance to do the reunion over again, I would do things differently.

Despite the rift my birth mother and I have now, I do not regret searching for my birth family. I had my questions answered and found out many things (perhaps too many) I didn’t know about myself or where I came from. But at least now I do know the answers to my questions. And for that I feel more complete than not ever knowing.

For an update from my last blog, I have not had any contact with my birth mother. There is a small part of me that ponders, perhaps I could contact her. But when I remember the “big picture”, I know it is best not to make contact. Fantasy vs. Reality…Reality wins.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Take care,

Daryn

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