"Judge others by their questions rather than by their answers." – Voltaire
This Saturday I will go to a surprise party for two of my oldest friends. They are husband and wife and their family is holding a large party for them at a local club. I am excited at the prospect of getting out, seeing old friends, dressing up, socializing, and more. I haven’t seen many of these friends in years and it will be a bit like a high school reunion. I have made an appointment to get my hair professionally flat ironed and will be looking for something nice to wear.
For the most part, I am looking forward to it.
Yes, for the most part.
These friends were with me and knew me during the time of my life that I dated my daughters father, became pregnant, was sent away and surrendered my daughter. Many of them know that I have found her.
Some will ask about her openly. Others will not. And still others will whisper behind my back.
I am prepared to discuss and share her status. I always am. I always arm myself with a few pictures and proudly show them to anyone who asks to see them. I am confident I will hear the usual comments. I will be told how much she looks like me, how her style is similar to mine, how beautiful she is, how thin, how tall.
I will also be asked THAT question.
“Have you met her yet?”
This question is where I tend to choke on my tongue and feel sick to my stomach. Technically, yeah, sure, I met her the day she was born and I spent three long wonderful days with her. That is not what they mean.
But since reunion?
Individuals unfamiliar with adoptee psychology or adoption trauma don’t understand this. They are shocked that we could have reunited via email, shared pictures and information but not met – after nearly three years.
My daughter attends school less than an hour from where I live. Her adoptive family lives less than two hours from me.
“OMG, why haven’t you just run and gone to see her and grab her and hug her?”
“What do you mean she doesn’t want to meet you? What did you do to her? What did you say?” (Oh, I don’t know, this wee little thing called GIVING HER UP).
“That’s odd, no? Is she messed up? Something wrong with her?”
I have heard it all and then some. I am sure I will hear it again.
I don’t like hearing it. I don’t like having to explain it. I don’t like having to explain her and her actions (or lack thereof). That is her place. Not mine.
Most of all I don’t like the fact that the questions trigger age old feelings in me that I am not good enough, not wanted and CLEARLY there must be something wrong with me if my own child wont meet me after being separated from me for twenty odd years.
Again, these are individuals completely ignorant to adoption trauma. They mean well, I know that. They have seen those adoption reunion shows on television and assume that all adoptees are happy to be found and want to know their natural families. They don’t understand that this is not always the case.
I don’t want to spend my night educating them. Nor do I want to spend my night feeling defensive of myself or my daughter.