The email came about three years ago. It was simple. “I think I’m your cousin and my mom wants to meet you.” What happened after that was a flurry of emails and high expectations on my behalf. My husband, ever pragmatic and practical, warned me to calm down and take things slowly. But I’ve always been an all or nothing sort of person–even in adoption reunions.
We met at an outlet store and I learned my history. By walking into and opening Pandora’s Box, we made a lot of my biological family angry. They wanted this chapter of their life closed and tucked away. But I’ve learned that you can’t hide truth in a box under the bed. It will escape. These are some of the other things I’ve learned in my adoption journey.
1. The reunion you imagine and the one you actually get are two different things.
I had amazing dreams of my biological family. We would all embrace and have this amazing connection. Truthfully, we met at a food court and I heard the sad story about my birth. I don’t think the rest of the family knew we were even meeting. It felt strange for me to look at the faces of people who looked just like me. Sometimes dreams and reality just don’t match up.
2. Not everyone is going to be happy that you are found.
To say that my biological mom was angry is the understatement of the year. The rest of the family has had ranges of emotions. I’ve slowly gotten to know quite a few, but it’s taken time and patience. Rejection hurts, but you can’t make people like you.
3. Having people who understand what you are going through helps.
My husband is awesome, but it also helps to talk with other adoptees that have been through this. It helps to know that I can call up my friends and vent. They provide a willing ear and a shoulder to cry on when needed.
4. Biological relationships take time to nurture and grow.
I had kidded myself that things would just blossom, but like every other relationship, it takes time. My biological family was hurting from the circumstances of my birth and many were cautious. I moved slowly so I didn’t overwhelm them. I also tried not to force myself on members who weren’t interested. It’s taken time and effort, but the reward of knowing many of them has been worth it.
5. At the end of the day I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
I’m a firm believer that we are all placed where we are for a reason. My adoptive family is my rock. They encouraged my quest and supported me. I know who my family is, and I’m proud to be their daughter.
At the end of the day I’m glad that I was found. I’ve grown and now have even more family to love and care about. This journey has been bumpy, yet amazing and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
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