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.
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