Collision of Worlds

I strongly encourage all readers of my blog to read this old post on Adoptive Voices by first mother Jane Ritter.   I get this almost completely. I am frankly still struggling with it. My daughter is not who I was promised she would be. I do not know who she is but I do know who she is not and that is something I am still reconciling.

A Collision of Worlds: A Birth Mother Shares Her Adoption Reunion Story

I was told adoption was going to make a better child, a happy child, someone better than I could raise. I was lead to believe she would be warm and friendly and super extra normal and happy and shiny because adoption was THAT good for her and I was THAT bad.

Again, I do not know who she is, but she is not the person I was told she would be. It is hard for me to fully reconcile this when I am not allowed to know the person that is. So I sit between two chairs. One filled with a black void and the other filled with floating ghostly fragments of the person I thought she would be.


5 Thoughts.

  1. Jane’s story touched me deeply, as does yours Suz. Although I thought about my son all the time, I didn’t imagine who he might be or anything about his life. Probably because I buried the memories of losing him and my emotions so deep. They were untouchable. When we met, I was overwhelmed by what I learned and the feelings returned with a vengeance. But I had no preconceived notions, hence escaped the collision as you and Jane describe it. Just my disappointment and sorrow in how he was raised, how he was harmed by adoption and that there was nothing I could do about it. Hugs, my friend.

  2. Jane Ritter’s piece was amazing. Thanks for linking to it. Rarely does much in adoptionland penetrate my skull these days–just seems like recycling of the same old same old, only a lot more vile-tempered–but this was truly profound. Her story of carrying around Nathan reminded me of authors creating characters, often in rich detail over time. There may be times where the character seems fully formed, not just a creation of one’s mind, but someone who stands outside one’s body. I would imagine this feeling would be very much heightened for someone who surrendered a child. I thought it was interesting how she seemed to be going in the direction of integrating the two sons–one real, the other, a fantasy–as opposed to leaving one behind.

  3. I left this same comment at Jane Ritter’s blog, but am sending it here too. Suz, I feel for you.

    Reading this piece, coming from Suz’ blog, I realized for the for the first time how fortunate I was to locate my son, now 46, when he was a young child. I had a lot of regrets about searching when he was so young since it did not work out until years later. I also was fortunate that the adoptive parents kept the name I gave him, so there was no problem with his first name in my mind when we finally reunited. That really helped me not to see him as split person, but just as himself. Because I found him so young, I was unable to create a full fantasy child in my mind except for his first 8 years. No, I did not contact him as a child, but did make the contact too early when he was 16 after being rebuffed by his adoptive parents. But since I had seen where he lived, and seen him from a distance, and knew a little bit about the adoptive parents, my fantasies about my lost son were grounded in some reality. When I did see him as a child, I was shocked to realize that my mental picture of him as blond and perfect did not match the tall boy with brown hair, glasses and my eyes and his father’s smile. All my sons started out as blond babies, but all ended up with brown hair like mine as adults. But I did not foresee that with the fantasy lost baby who in my imagination was forever golden.

    No, I did not have the whole picture, and much of what my son told me years later when we finally really did reunite when he was in his 30s was shocking and unpleasant. He did not have a great home, and the adoptive mother was seriously mentally ill. My adoption began as the traditional closed, no information at all adoption, and I feared I would never see my son again. But since I had help to find him so young, it became somewhat like a semi-open adoption. A mother I know in a real open adoption for many years said that women in her position deal with the same pain and loss as closed adoption mothers, but they deal with some of it at least in real time as they see their child grow up, rather than being blindsided by all of it at once in reunion with an adult.

    I do not feel I was promised anything about what my son would be, only that the adoptive parents were supposed to be better than me and my family for him. That proved not to be true, but I did not learn this until years later. I have raised 3 more sons, now all adults, and my surrendered son, although he has not yet chosen to meet them, is very much like my other sons, and in my eyes is perfect, exactly as he should be. I do not think adoption changed the core of who he is at all. Yes, it caused him suffering, as it did me, and it caused him to be very wary of me and other relatives and not respond to me for many years, but his talents and interests and personality are what they would have been had I raised him. I not only love him because he is my son, but I like him as a person and am very proud of the man he has become, just as I am proud of the sons I raised.

    For years I felt cursed and miserable and rejected when I did not hear from him, but now that I know the whole story, and see what mothers who searched later in life have to deal with, I realize I have been very lucky and blessed in how my son turned out, and that I did not build up illusions or false expectations of reunion. I now feel I got everything I hoped for and more than I ever felt I deserved. My Michael was named for the Archangel, and he is indeed:-)

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