I happily pursued the identity of my biological mother because I had naïvely expected her to be gracious and forgiving and spontaneously welcome me to her bosom unconditionally, but my vision of a happy serendipitous reunion collapsed in a veil-of-tears. She coldheartedly rejected my pleas for clemency and mercy. She pleaded with me to keep my identity secret from her friends and family and threatened to sue me if I contacted her again. I felt like a wilted flower but I steadfastly refused to be dissuaded. I was unrepentant. Our disheartening conversation inspired me to think long and hard about my mission and all of its ramifications; whether I should accept or reject the fate of being unceremoniously condemned to remain unheralded and anonymous forever? I decided to compose my thoughts in a letter and share them with Rebecca as a last plea for empathy, friendship, and open communication hoping to convince her that my course of action was honorable and appropriate. I focused intently on the computer screen and words from the heart miraculously appeared. (See the actual letter below.)
My faith motivates and sustains me. Inspired by my religious and spiritual nature, my inner confidence, happiness, and buoyant outlook on life have joyously peaked at an all-time high. Deep in my heart, I feel I comprehend you, and, even though we have never met, I sense a meaningful spiritual link and psychological connection with you. We are of the same flesh and blood, and, inevitably, we must telepathically think alike in some unknown mysterious ways. When I meditate, I perceive the existence of an inner eye that reads your thoughts and emotions, even from great distances. The imperceptible primordial spiritual link we share as mother and daughter binds us and amplifies my desire to find you.
Like a lighthouse on a dark and stormy night, your essence is constantly transmitting a message of hope that illuminates my path. The mysterious vitality that is compelling me to take action is powerful and gaining strength, and my instincts will not let me rest. No words can describe the enigmatic, mystifying, passionate psychological potency that motivates me. Its dominance is overwhelmingly spiritually based and all encompassing. Perhaps my sixth sense was amplified to overcompensate for the lack of a physical connection and sound of your voice by projecting and receiving mental signals from afar to replace what I was lacking in direct tactile contact. Maybe some biological and psychological bonding took place in the womb before I was born, and the bonding process imprinted our souls with a marker that is a survival mechanism. For nine months, we shared the same foods. I heard you talking, and the tone and rhythm of your speech was recorded in my small, developing brain. I knew when you were awake and when you were hungry, happy, and tense. We shared everything. I was an extension of you and part of you. I was life longing for itself.
When I was a child, I saw myself as a clone of you in some obscure but meaningful way. As the years passed, the frequency and strength of my thoughts about you increased. A realistic sense of mortality and vulnerability that is naturally acquired with age and experience kindled a new appreciation for the shortness of life and made me aware there are limited windows of opportunity in life when a person needs to take action or forever regret her decision and lose the opportunity to accomplish her goals.
I have compassion for all mothers separated from their babies at birth that must endure countless anxious days and nights of tormented suffering. These traumatic tribulations haunt the afflicted, especially unwanted children selflessly orphaned, abandoned, and clueless. Separation from the birth mother is the confiscation of the child’s soul, a mutual occurrence that rips apart and exposes the heart of the child. Orphans amputated from their mother’s breast hide their wounds in the darkest subconscious corners of their primal brains, where they remain hidden, but never healed. As mother and daughter, we have equally suffered from the same cerebral wounds, numbness, and sentiments of penitence. Enduring these injuries and suffering in silence is what we habitually have in common. Ultimately, the crushing emotional pain is so formidable that it can only be shared with God.
In all honesty I could imagine this being perceived as a rather overpowering letter for someone who was in the place Rebecca seemed to be.
Eagoodlife: You have a valid point. Lacking any experience in these matters, I plunged straight ahead primarily thinking only about myself. Suddenly emerging from the past like a mirage in the desert, I scared her half to death. My assumption that my birth mother would voluntarily provide a stranger with a reasonable explanation of the circumstances surrounding my birth over the telephone without an advance warning was unrealistic. The letters I wrote to my birth mother as a follow-up were highly therapeutic for my own benefit but not necessarily the best way to approach a stranger. We eventually met under positive circumstances and have remained close friends ever since. I decided to share this letter with others because it describes how I felt at the time with the idea that other adoptees in a similar situation can learn from my experiences, as well as your wisdom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Judith
Eagoodlife: I agree with you. I actually wrote three letters to my birth mother to help her understand the intent of my desire for a reunion and tell her a few things about me to ease her fears. I enclosed all three letters in a single bundle. The first letter was from the heart. It was about my desire for reunification, honor and forgiveness, spirituality, and the mutual need for inner peace. The second letter was a secular description of my career, living conditions, hobbies and activities, business, family and ambitions. My passions intensified in the third letter (above) and seemed to bubble over the top like a boiling pot of water. Taking the time to honestly disclose my deepest obscure feelings, ephemeral abstract emotions, and private intimate beliefs and record them in writing was an all-consuming, exhausting, time-consuming affair that served as therapy for me. Thanks for your feedback. Judith
Kristi Blazi Lado “I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone nail *so perfectly* why we feel such a strong pull to know our biological mother/family.”
Dear Kristi: I appreciate your kind words. We got off to a rocky start but the letters I sent my birth mother eventually softened her heart. We had our conciliation in the back of a church. I was like a sponge soaking up her truthfulness, that filled the empty voids in my heart with gladness. I listened carefully to every word she had to say and reserved them in my heart. The positive connection we felt after so many years of grave emptiness is too complex for words. Inspired by stories of the blind and crippled who, by accepting a spiritual faith in Christ, were able to lay down their crutches and be healed, we raised our eyes to heaven and thanked God for the opportunity to coexist in harmony for the rest of our lives. The shackles of secrecy and chains of guilt were miraculously lifted from my mother’s shoulders and the primal wounds I had suffered since the dawn of life were magically healed. My highest ambition in life had been fulfilled and the direction of my life’s trajectory scripted for a glorious ending. Judith
I loved your letter. I think you deserved every word you thought and felt. Built up from years of uncertainty. There is no handbook for writing to birth parents. There is no checklist. There is no course you can take to make sure you say the right things. You may meditate, pray, walk, sing or write before hand but when it comes down to writing that letter everything that lay in our hearts is laid bare. I applaud you for making the choice to write her. Not everyone has that chance.
Maria, You are correct. There is no checklist for writing to birth parents. In my book “Adoption Detective” every chapter starts with a Dear Mom letter written to express how I felt about each significant event in my life. You might enjoy reading some of them. In this age of illness and anxiety there are very few individuals who still practice the old-fashioned method of accurately describing the important pivotal events in their lives by expressing their true feelings about those events in narrative form. Today, most of us are preoccupied and overly scheduled and never think to take the time to sincerely express ourselves in words. Cursive and poetry is no longer taught in the schools. When is the last time you received a well composed letter written with a fountain pen? Even the old gunslinger Doc Holiday had beautiful penmanship and a thoroughly delightful vocabulary, and I find this to be true of many unlikely historical figures. Life has become very fast-paced. Many individuals have no tolerance for others and are too quick to judge and automatically reject opinions that contrast with their own. They prefer to cut and paste the thoughts of someone from Hallmark Cards rather than create an original thought or composition. The majority of conversations in modern culture have become text shorthand messages filled with initialisms, cyberslang, chat acronyms, net lingo, smilies, hieroglyphics, and international online jargon, originating from chat rooms, blogs and social media. It is important to stay informed. Yet, there is still much to learn from history. My drive to discover my ancestral roots, innate genealogical pool, and social culture has drawn me to appreciate intimate views of simple things and days gone by that expose the beauty and nostalgic spirit of my true heritage. Individuals in other eras showed great respect for poetry, the expression of self, and communication in the narrative form that was true. I am so glad I have been fortunate enough to have had the chance. Thanks, Judith
Dear Judith..you have a wonderful gift of expressing emotions that regretfully I lack! Briefly I found out i was adopted last year. My parents had kept it secret, moved area, limited family contact to maintain this decision. So aged 59 I had an enormous shock. I have always felt an outsider in my own life and a sense of otherness which I accepted as normal for me. Through detective work and the amazing work of a UK social worker I have traced and contacted my birth mother and brother. She is 81. We have spoken, it was very emotional and warm. My brother was always aware of my existance and also been welcoming. I am due to meet her soon.
Do you have any blogs about reunion meetings? I am alternately terrified and excited and have no frame of reference in my life experience for this . Thank you in anticipation. Annette
I am sooo excited for you. Thanks for asking. You are about to enter a new phase in your life. I wish you and your family a successful and happy experience. Never cry because it happened, smile because it is over.
The hardest thing to write about are emotions; adoption reunions can produce intense feelings outside the range of natural variability. My mother was also adopted. I recently discovered her ancestry. I immediately flew to Wisconsin to meet one of her sisters and introduce her to my mother—do you know what it looks and feels like to watch two emotional Italian women at ages 85 and 90 years old meet and hug for the first time? The tears of happiness wet the carpet…it was amazing.
“Preparing for the Adoption Reunion.” To overcome my fear, I wrote and memorized a speech, and practiced reading it over and over again in front of a mirror. Every detail was planned and rehearsed to perfection. https://judithland.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/preparing-for-the-adoption-reunion-judith-land-adoption-detective/
“The most botched adoption reunion ever?” Meeting my birth parents for the first time was the greatest fear I ever faced. https://judithland.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/the-most-botched-adoption-reunion-ever-judith-land-adoption-detective/
“Adoption Reunion—Are you my sister Cindy?” My ‘first connection’ with a biological relative was a serendipitous encounter with an exceptionally lovely, intelligent, feminine girl named Cindy. There was something familiar about her. She was exotic, but intuitively familiar. Our actions and facial expressions were the same, but opposite, like two mimes facing a mirror. We stared into each others eyes. Realizing the connection, we extended our arms and hugged for the first time. I finally discovered what I had been looking for—my roots. I was overwhelmed by the emotional intensity of the embryonic reunion experience. https://judithland.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/are-you-my-sister-cindy/
“Adoption Reunion—with cousin Johnny”
“Adoption—I found my foster parents.” https://judithland.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/adoption-i-found-my-foster-parents/
Every reunion is different ,sadly there is no template and we have to make it up as we go along according to our unique circumstances. Not to say we can’t benefit from the experiences of others! Hope Annette you find some useful support. I found your phrase “an outsider in my own life” tremendously apt and moving. I wonder if I might quote you on my blog at eagoodlife://wordpress.com – it has sparked a post I think!
had a good reunion with bio moms side….but when I contacted bio dads side, he acknowledged me but didn’t want to meet. Fine. I contacted bio sis, told her I have all my file as proof, but she remains to be ignorant and told me she knew for a fact it wasn’t true…. Yeah, like legal documents lie….. sent copies and they never responded…..Shaking my head….
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We as adoptee MUST follow our hearts in these matters to gain equilibrium. This mothers refusal is as ignorant as this world has made her. Ignorant of herself and of the child she carried. I desire for Mothers to stop identifying with the act that made the child. And start seeing the gift of what a relinquished child is to God.
“I desire for Mothers to stop identifying with the act that made the child. And start seeing the gift of what a relinquished child is to God. We as adoptee MUST follow our hearts in these matters to gain equilibrium.” Excellent response! Very well stated. You have an intuitive understanding, appropriate perspective, worthy attitude, and honest way of discerning righteousness and honorable justice. I hope others will also inspired by your insightful perspective.
I gave my son up for adoption at 14. He neither understood nor accepted that at 14 I could not care for him. He never understood that I learned and moved on, and that by 16 had a job, a car, an apartment, and a baby girl. When he called me on his 18th birthday, he wanted to “save me”. Saving me, meant me moving in with him while he cared for me. I was 32 years old, with my own paid off home, 6 other children, (his brothers and sisters) a business, and a husband he never met that was not his father. His father committed suicide 5 days after he was born because I gave him up for adoption…he OD’s on heroin. I considered it suicide. I never told my son that though. I said I lost touch with him. I just couldn’t…say the words. I couldn’t just abandon everyone to be with him so he saw this as me rejecting him yet again.
He asked, “Why did you keep her but not me?” “Don’t you love me?” “Why can’t you come live with me?” “I just want to save you.” I saved myself. I tried to explain that a parent should never expect their child to “save” them. I tried to explain I loved him. His adoptive parents weren’t much help calling me some lady that just dropped him off. I was a 14 year old homeless child that found myself with nowhere to turn, so I ran to a fire station. I told him I gave him everything I never had, a family. He rejected this.
After that his parents “forbade” him from calling me. I have never heard from him since. I cry on a regular basis because my darling little boy is confused. I wish he knew how much I loved him. I tore up my own heart so he would have a better shot than I did. He was enrolled in Columbia college last I knew. He has already done better than me. I just wish he knew how much I loved him. I just couldn’t abandon 6 other children that needed me, because my one child that was an adult needed me too.
Life is like riding a bicycle—mothers and children who struggle to maintain a balance in their life must learn to keep moving forward toward a positive and healthy future. As a society, we have yet to fully recognize and appreciate the strong emotional and psychological relationships between mothers and children that last many years. Life is difficult for many adopted children with an instinctive emotional need to stay near their mothers for survival. Homesickness, broken heartedness, the loss of a loved one, and mother and child separation are difficult to diagnose and resolve in many cases, but the feelings of estrangement are real. Finding and maintaining a healthy balance in our family relationships is all part of the mystery of life. Regardless of our perceptions about the reasons for the unexpected deviations in our life’s trajectory during our early years, believing in oneself and our abilities is what eventually leads to self-reliance and self-assurance. Trust in our positive qualities leads to higher self-esteem, feelings of good health, and ways of staying more in touch with others in a social context. When we see value in our own self-worth, it helps us act with composure and assertiveness and feel more at peace with the world. Children eventually grow to become mature adults, fully capable of making their own decisions about relationships, and when fully grown they often think of their parents with growing wisdom and in the spirit of forgiveness. I hope that as time passes your loose ends are tied up and all of the main characters in your life uniformly seek peace and contentment. Confidence is what helps us find the strength of mind to understand the psychology of human destiny that demonstrates how we can improvise or change our life script from a difficult beginning to create a happy ending. Judith