So today I sent my birth mother a long email, basically spilling my guts at how I feel about our situation.
Backstory, since you’re probably a bit surprised at the above statement…
I was adopted at birth by my parents who raised me. It was a private adoption – no agencies were involved. My mother was young and single and unable to provide me the type of life she wanted me to have. I found out I was adopted at a very early age, after this stupid little girl at school told me. I didn’t know what she meant, but it sounded bad, the way she said it. I went home and asked my parents, and they confirmed. I am so glad I didn’t grow up with it being a secret. I can’t imagine how people take that, when they find out as adults they were adopted. Anyway, at 18 I started asking questions, saying I wanted to find her. It was remarkably easy. She still kept in touch somewhat with a good friend of my adoptive mother’s. A phone call, literally, was all it took. We spoke over the phone. My mind reeled. It was surreal. A while later, she was back in Oklahoma (she had long since moved across country), and we met. That same day I met my newborn half-brother, 18 years my junior. We’ve met a couple other times in the 14 years since. She used to send me poems (I get my writing talent from her) and letters, and gifts. She still sends thoughtful gifts at holidays or birthdays, but the relationship has been somewhat tentative all these years, much to my chagrin.
After my parents that raised me died when I was in my early and then mid-twenties, I began to focus more on needing to develop a connection with my blood relatives. I reached out to her at one point, even mentioning that I was toying with the idea of moving to a city near the town she lived in, just to be close enough to have a shot at developing the meaningful relationship that had been denied us all our lives, but with enough distance to not be, you know, right next door or anything. I think it’s about 20 miles away. Close enough to see each other, but far enough to be busy working and such all week. That sort of thing. I don’t know why or how, but the relationship I naturally assumed would develop…never has.
Her letters have always been filled with shades of regret, and longing for us to “one day be together…as a family,” and yet, she always says she feels too shy to call me, and that “someday” my brother will know who I am (though she thinks he’s figuring it out in little bits, by himself), etc.
Today I sent her an email from work, on a whim. It started out innocently enough…a “how’s everything” sort of short email. Several long paragraphs later, I pretty much laid my case for exactly how I felt about the seemingly growing distance between us, and asked a few questions that I feel entitled to know (any major illnesses that run in the family, my father’s name, etc.) The father’s name part is another blog post altogether, I’m sure.
I wasn’t mean, but hope nothing sounded harsh or angry. I will admit, however, that I was writing from a place of emotion and frustration. It has boggled my mind for 14 years. It’s not been the “adoptee-meets-birth mother-everyone-rejoices” sort of TV special I’d envisioned.
Anyway, so that’s done. Um…yeah. We’ll see what comes of it. I guess I’m at a place where I’m tired of not saying all those things out of fear. For too long, I’ve been afraid of being selfish. I mean, she’s got her own family, and a teenager to raise, her own life and job, etc. She’s dealing with a health issue with her mother. So I’ve always been afraid of intruding with my “problems” and needs. Telling, I suppose.
But I’m at a place right now where I also realize I need to protect my feelings, and ensure that my needs are being met. I’m even open to something along the lines of, “I have so much else going on right now, I can’t focus on this until I sort some things out,” or whatever. Anyway, I could to an exhaustive blog entirely on this topic, I’m sure, so I’ll cut this one off here. More to come, no doubt…