Friday, April 11, 2008

Are you my mother?

So, once again, I've been off in my own little world. It took me a little longer to process this one into even a semblance of coherency, and honestly, it's still not over, but I have to spill some thoughts now or I won't be able to deal with what's coming. To protect the innocent, I have tried to use initials only, but that may get confusing, so we'll see how it goes.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm adopted. I've known from birth that I was, my mom never wanted me to "find out" in a bad way and hate her for lying. I still have the book I got on my second birthday - "Why Was I Adopted?" which, incidentally, is an awesome book for adopted kids. Perfect for probably to 5-8 age group, but works well outside of that too. My adoption was a little outside the norm, in that it was arranged between a friend of a friend and handled completely privately, through an attorney, as opposed to an agency. All that really means for me is that in some ways, information is a lot easier to come by. In others, it can be 10 times harder.

Now, for as long as I can remember, I have known certain things regarding my biological family. For starters, I know my BM (birth mother)was 17 when I was born, and that she already had a 2 year old. I know that my AM (adopted mother) used to take my BM and BS (birth sister) shopping. I know that my BM was working as a babysitter to G, a guy who worked with my dad, and his wife E. Which is how they met - G & E knew my mom and dad were considering adoption, and they knew about my BM's circumstances, so they introduced everyone. And by waving the magic attorney wand, I had a new family.

I have tried a few times over the years to find my BM and BS. The fact is though, I've never really put a lot of effort into it. Why? I don't know, really, other than even though my life has never been easy, I'm comfortable with it. I don't hold any animosity towards my BM, I don't really have the need to demand answers from her. I guess I've always viewed it pretty simply - she was 17, she already had a kid and likely no education, life is hard. Maybe it was because I have always known I was adopted and there was never any attempt to hide anything from me. Maybe it's because even though my life was difficult, mostly through my own choices, it was comfortable. I have never been hungry, I have never wanted for anything I have ever needed, and very few things I truly wanted. I went through a restless phase about 15 years ago, that lasted probably longer than it should have, where I felt like I was searching for something, but never during that period did I attempt to search for my birth family. John doesn't understand that while the act of searching is something I want to see through, and I want to hold that information in my hand, I have never given any thought to actually MEETING my family. I don't know if that's because of my inherent social awkwardness, or if it's because I'm trying to protect them from any pain or discomfort, or if it's because, while the idea of having another family is something I've always dreamed of, it's not something I need. Yes, my family is a train wreck in it's own right, but I wouldn't change them - they are who they are, and I have accepted them, flaw for flaw, as they have accepted me.

After my son died, a few things became very clear to me. First of all, tomorrow is never guaranteed. Never live your life so that it's full of regrets for all the things you never "had time" to do. You have the same amount of time as everyone else in this world - it's how you choose to make use of it that counts. And so, for myself, I never want to say on my deathbed, "Oh, I wish I could have just met them once, just o see what they're like." Second, there are a lot of truly terrifying health issues in this world. My son died of a type of leukemia that is not genetic, that is truly an accident, but there are other types of cancers and other diseases that are hereditary. My husband comes from a family with lots of heart disease and diabetes (and, accordingly, lots of obesity as well). At 36, he became the youngest member of the family thus far to be diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and chronic high blood pressure. Even though I know I am adopted and that I share no genetic ties to my family, their medical history is remarkably similar to my husband's, and I worry about setting my kids up for early deaths. And so, I would like a complete medical history, or even just a general picture of what I can expect. And third, I learned from my son that family is everything. My definition of family is a little looser than most - blood ties mean very little to me. My mom and dad may have their issues, and I could discount them because there's no blood link between us, but they are my parents. They chose me, and now, I choose them. As an only child, I have no siblings, so I have made my own. I had a Big Sister when I was a little girl, that I still keep in contact with today. My kids call her aunt. Likewise, I have known my best friend since we shared a table in kindergarten. Her house was home to me sometimes more than my own was. Her mom is my "second mom." Her grandparents loved me and took care of me like my own would have had they lived here. She is my sister, in all aspects but blood. And so, I figure, if I already have two moms, why not a third? And you can never have enough sisters.

The point of all this is that I started searching again. So far, I've only researched some things myself, and signed up for a few adoption registry's. One in particular has been incredibly helpful and supportive, G's Adoption Registry. I also just found another group through Google Groups that I have been using. In the past couple of weeks, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster the likes of which I haven't seen since I was dealing with my son's illness and death. One day I'm ecstatic all day long, thinking I've found a clue, or maybe even found the right person - all the names add up, the locations kind of do, everythings great, and then.... The next morning, you find out that nope, it's not right after all. So you come crashing back down again, and start over at square one. And then you find another clue, or another name, or another phone number. And then no one will return your calls, so you're not sure if you've found SOMETHING, or if they just think you're crazy and are ignoring you. I tell you, it's crazy making.

I actually had started this post over a week ago, wanting to tell you all how I had found E and was meeting with her and she was going to answer all the questions I had about my adoption. Guess what? That didn't exactly work out. I talked to her once, made tentative plans to go to dinner, and never heard from her again, even after leavn several messages. So I have continued my search without her, and so far, no luck. So I'm just gonna stop here, and say, Mom, wherever you are, please contact me.


Jenk said...

I can't even imagine how hard this must be.

Wishing you luck.

Charly said...

Thanks Jen. It's been an interesting experience, and one I will be writing more fully about later. for now, let me just say that I have a mom, I Have a sister, and I have 2 younger brothers, and so far, they all love me as much as I love them. I'll update more when I'm not so pissed off about other things, I can't seem to do a happy post right now.