#13 – A Reminder from Denver

April 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment
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ISSUE #13

My husband and I just returned from a trip through several states visiting relatives and friends.

While in Denver I reconnected with an old friend whom I met at an adoption seminar in St. Louis years ago.  At that time, Pam invited me to attend a  Searchers’ Meeting which met monthly.  When she told me it was a support  group for adoptees searching for their birth parents and birth parents searching for their birth children, I was somewhat surprised knowing that was probably the last place most adoptive parents would want to be.  She told me there were no adoptive parents attending, but they needed input from that side of the triad.  So – I went.  And then I couldn’t stop going because for the years I attended, I was the only adoptive parent voice in the group.  Many of their impressions of adoptive parents were just not true, and I had the opportunity to talk about our side of the triad.  For instance, I was able to chime in one time to counteract an adoptee when she said, “My parents loved me, you know, as much as any adoptive parent can love an adoptee.”  There were other shocking statements throughout the years, but each one educated me about how some in the triad think.

On this trip I was reminded of just how much I learned in that group over the years.  Adoption provides joy and sorrow to all sides.  No side is immune.

I’ve led support groups for adoptive parents and adoptees, and I think there is a need for these in many cases, but until attending the searching support group I had not interacted with birth parents.  While I was attending, some birth parents did connect with their birth children and vice versa. Sometimes they were accepted with open arms and sometimes they were rejected.  There were as many different stories as there were people in the room.

The bottom line of it all was that no one wanted to hurt anyone else.  There was no selfishness in their intentions.  They just had an empty spot they wanted to fill, not necessarily in person, often just through information and answers.  We rejoiced in each other’s happiness and truly felt sorrow when others got answers they didn’t want.

The human factor of their stories was often haunting to me.  Because I had just finished “Insight Into Adoption”, the two social workers who were coordinating the group asked me if I wanted to write a book with them about the revelations we saw among these searchers.  That book never materialized, but I have hours of taped interviews with these and other adoptees, adoptive and birth parents which will be the basis for my next book.

I was in awe of some of the people I met through this.  Their strength and attitude was amazing considering the lives many had endured.  There were some weaker examples of humanity as well, and the contrast between the two was immense.  Their subsequent lives mirrored these differences.

This situation would not appeal to all adoptive parents, probably to very few, but being in a group where birth and adoptive parents and adoptees can sit down together as adults and honestly express their deepest feelings is very
enlightening, and I think very healthy.  We all became not only understanding of each other’s position, but became compassionate toward one another and fond of one another.

Over time something evolved I never thought would.  We were no longer separated by the lines and spaces between the three different points of the triangle.  Instead, we felt joined by a system in our society called adoption.  We were human beings who realized we all were an integral part of the whole, no longer just one side of it.

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