Search Results

“If you knew back when you started searching your reunion would turn out the way it has, would you still have searched?  I know it is a somewhat silly question, revisionist history per se, but I am just curious if say, if the results of your search changed your opinion on searching in general?” I asked my Easter House adoptee friend sitting in front of me.

Friend pauses for what seems like a long time.  She looks up, bites her lip, starts to speak and then stops herself.

“Yes. I would still have searched. I needed to know this information. I HAD to make this contact.  The unknown was making me feel crazy.  I don’t feel crazy anymore even if I do feel disappointed in the outcome of my reunion. I know my story.” says friend.

“I totally get that.  While my situation is different, being a mother, I would also still search. It was less about me and more about her.  She has a right to this information, to know, to ask.  Since the law does not currently allow her to know this information, I had to do it to give it to her. The fact that she does not want it, does not want to know me, does not negate her inherent right to her information. Sure, I wanted to know her too but my real goal was to let her know who I was, how to contact me, and give her access the law prohibits. ” I offer in return.

“Where I have slowed things down and rethought my approach is in my actively helping others search.  In the early years I helped hundreds of people, spent many personal hours doing searches for others, these days, I don’t spend much. I make myself available. I answer questions if asked. I run and share information there to help others but the intense, time-consuming, active searching? Over and done with that.  I cannot do it anymore. I feel bad about that.” I continue.

Friend shakes her head as if nodding in understanding.

“When I fell off my personal reunion rainbow cloud and truly felt the pain of the outcome of reunion, it occurred to me that while I had the potential to bring good things into people’s lives by helping them, I also had the potential to bring in bad.  Also, it took so much of my personal time, time away from my kids, my husband and personal life.  I had to stop it, cut back, trim it or something…Adoption already took so much of my soul. I could not give it anymore.  While I had no say, confidence, ability to fight it back in 1986, I do have the strength now” my voice trails off in bit of pain.

“I think that is totally understandable, Suz. I don’t think you should feel bad. You did good things. You helped me and it was good. You have helped many others. That work was good too.” friend says.

“I am not so sure….” I say as I grab my purse and head towards the door.

Come back tommorow to read the second part wherein I will share a touching statement I received from one of the adoptees I had helped.  Many adoption reunions go wrong or are less than fulfilling.  Some do go well. 

11 Thoughts.

  1. Knowing how much pain my reunion (if you can call it that) has caused me you would think I would say no. I mean the way Illinois is now, she could get her med info without ever having contact with me. However, knowing all this, yes, I still would search. No it didn’t bring some ease to the pain, some closure to the seething wounds inside me, but it did let me know one very important thing. She is alive. She is well. Do I have hope for a future reconcilliation? Not really, if had it just been me she hurt, maybe, but she hurt my raised children. They opened their arms to her and she treated them as if their feelings didn’t matter. Would I search, yes…

  2. I was just conversing about this topic yesterday with my boyfriend. I told him about the turmoil I struggled with earlier in the week when my daughter did not acknowledge me on Mother’s Day. In the four years since our reunion, it was the first. I told him adoption is nothing like I thought it was.

    If you asked me about adoption 10 years ago – I would have told you it saved all our lives: mine, my daughter’s and her adoptive parents. Ask me now: Pollyanna is dead.

    Mother’s Day came and went and I was OK, but the day after, another story. I started this battle with myself: “what do you expect, you are not her “real” mother – you didn’t raise her”, “reunion isn’t fun or new anymore and she doesn’t want to disrespect her “real” mother”… and then I became angry and thought to myself “YOU ARE HER REAL MOTHER!”. (Here is where I welcome people to call me selfish, unrealistic and/or unreasonable – I don’t care.) I absolutely feel, without me, NONE OF THEM WOULD BE CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY!

    Then I drift in another direction and think about how successful my reunion is compared to others and I feel selfish again, but the inner dialog continues… and I fight with myself more. I am super tentative about discussing adoption now. Anytime I have solicited advice or opinions on the subject, by the end of the conversation I feel as if I’ve been impaled with a knife. I am so defensive. I get mortally offended, wounded. I immediately regret it, almost every time. Why?! Because I DO feel entitled and empowered to have wants and needs, but every one makes me feel like I’m selfish. After all, I gave up everything when I signed away my parental rights (make sure you shake your finger in my face when repeating that line, for full effect).

    Yes, I still would have searched and I am still glad I did. And I wouldn’t have found her without your helpful advice/suggestions, Suz. People have to take responsibility for their decisions, even when the net results equals pain. We all asked for your help and we all had knew there was potential for chaos down that road. I know when you offered to help me the first time I retreated and you let me.

    • Ah, mothers day. Always a sweet ride. Thanks for sharing Hillary. Meant alot to hear from you considering your present condition! Be well!

  3. Some go well after they “go bad” and tons of work get put into them…like mine. Love you , Suz

    • My knowledge of good reunions is that they take tons of work – by all parties to the reunion. Kudos to you and Mom C for making it work.

  4. Would definitely search again despite the current outcome. For one thing it opened my eyes about adoption. For another, I found out I wasn’t alone. I refuse to believe knowing the story of his origins didn’t help my son. I think there is the personal and the political in adoption and the latter stays even if the former ain’t goin’ so well.


  5. As another motherwho didn’t have an idyllic reunion, and learned unfortunate things about my son’s life, I still would have searched and am glad I found him. ANYTHING is better than no knowing, IMHO.

    Suz, I applaud your help of others in their searches and reunions. Please never doubt that.

    Love, Denise

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  7. I would search again. Even knowing what I know now. Even knowing how bad it would just break me down to nothing, I would still do it. Maybe it gave my birthmom a sense of peace she didn’t have before but in the three years since reunion I have just pushed it to the back of my mind. It’s tot hard to think about. I desperately want her in my life and she wants me in hers but she carries so much guilt(so much that she gave my younger sister to her dad to raise because she didn’t feel like she ha the right to raise another daughter). Since then she has used meth for the last 10yrs, been clean now for a year but now I feel like I new to wait for her because I fear her relapsing if we reconnect again too soon. I would do it again though. Wouldn’t have to ask me twice.

  8. I’m in the middle of searching, so I don’t exactly know yet, but I can’t imagine that knowing would be worse than not knowing. I am more terrified of the thought of always living with secrets than I am of what I might find.

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