Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 - Reactions to Searching

Reactions to Searching: If you've searched for or are thinking of searching for your natural family, what would you say to those who think your desire to search means you are unhappy in your adoptive family or had a bad childhood? If you don't have a desire to search, what would you say to those who wonder why you have no interest in knowing where you come from?

I started "searching" when I was just a kid.  It wasn't very scientific (or successful!).  Since I knew my last name and thought I knew approximately when my father would have died, I searched obituaries and phone books. I never had any negative feedback growing up, though I don't think I ever told my parents what I was  doing as they always maintained that they would help me search when I was ready.  I don't think I was truly ready then.

My main "searching" happened when I was an adult.  I was mostly a passive bystander in the process, waiting for Children's Aide in Ontario to open my file, look up my birth mother's name and call her.  That took them 10 years. I didn't have a lot of people imply or tell me out right that I must have been unhappy as a child or had a horrible childhood.  A few casual work acquaintances have asked Why would you search? with an undertone to it that I usually cut off pretty quickly with my reply.  

The hardest reaction I've gotten was from close family friends when I posted last year about Iris telling me "Enjoy your life and forget me." They wanted to encourage this and all felt that it was for the best, without understanding the pain and grief that I was feeling.  Luckily this was not a wide spread reaction and I got more support then anything.

I do get many more negative reactions when I discuss Liam's adoption.  When people find out that his mother has chosen not to have contact with us, they act all relieved and happy!  And then when I go on a tirade about why this is THE WORST THING possible and how I hate not having contact with her and how hard it is on Liam and how I wish I could change it, they are gobsmacked.  No amount of back peddling on their part will save them from my rant about why open adoption is better for the child then closed and how horrible it was for me to grow up with no back ground information.  Often, these same folks don't want to talk to me about adoption after that.... go figure.


Anonymous said...

As an adoptive mom in an open adoption, I understand your feelings about Liam's birthfamily quite well. Just a few weeks before a visit with her birthparents, her birthmother died. Because of her young age there was an autopsy, which lead to my daughter having to see a pediatric cardiologist. My daughter has half-siblings in two different states now, and she has so many questions. She talks about her siblings and her birthmom quite a bit, and I feel bad that I can answer all the questions, and that she can't see them as much as she'd like. At the same time, I've had people act like I should be relieved that we don't have her around, when really it's quite the opposite. I mourned her death and the relationship she'll never get to have. In our case it was nobody's choice, and it's sad, I imagine for Liam and for you it's sad that someone would choose not to have such a great kid in their life. They are missing out, and it hurts, and there's nothing you can do. That I understand.

TTABaby said...

My dear MIL recently asked that since at that point since we had not heard from D did that mean we were "off the hook for visits." Gah!!! When I pointed out that baby girl has siblings that are also hurt by their sister being so far away and I'd never keep them from her she was apologetic. I think those that think no contact is a "good thing" are those that think that by closing the adoption it makes the "problem" of adoption go away. If anything I think closing an adoption willingly intensifies those problems.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Now that I know what I know, I forget that people used to think that complete severance was a good thing. I think I bought into that line of thinking at one time, too.

I am sorry for yours and Liam's losses. Happy for your gains, but sad for your losses.