“What do you want?” – The Big Question

ist2_2566912-sandwichLast summer I decided to do the search. I had only begun thinking about it for the past 3 years. Never before in my life had I even pondered looking for my birth mother. She was a concept, much like the symbol on a Ladies’ Restroom door. At times throughout my life I had thought of her and visually she took on the form of a fuzzy symbol seen from far, far away and in soft focus lens. She was not an actual person; she was a mythical thing, a concept.

Friends knew of my search and a few people knew people who had done searches and passed along their phone numbers with the assurance that they’d be expecting my call. It was a summer of sitting in my yard making phone calls that began with, “Hi, my name is Caramel (not my real name), and Daisy gave me your number and said I could call…”, to which they’d reply, “Yes, I have been expecting your call.” And I heard their stories and because of their advice (“Don’t believe the narrative you get from the orphanage, it is almost always fabricated”, and etc) I was spared a few surprises. Their advice was spot on, as I’d find out later on.

ist2_254630-neon-woman-toiletI have one friend who was adopted and that friend did a search that took decades and involved the aid of Orphan Voyage and some crazy and illegal tactics, for her adoption was a private one done through a lawyer and she’d been handed off in a ladies’ restroom at an airport. But she had a name, wrangled out of her adoptive mother, and she finally succeeded. Hers is a wild tale and one I am not at liberty to post. It had a beautiful ending but still when she met her mother’s husband he said, “What do you want?”. Everyone I spoke to, including mothers, had a “What do you want?” story. Everyone.

Everyone also had a story about their new half siblings either asking that question and/or rejecting them, usually temporarily. I get that. I try to imagine how I’d have felt if, while growing up, my mother had one day announced that I had a half sister or brother. I honestly can’t say if I would be at ease with the situation. I cannot say with all honesty that I’d not resent that person, if only on a subconscious level, or if I’d be angry at her for having a secret.  Maybe I’d be jealous of that person for their special new status and place in my family. The phrase ‘sibling rivalry’ is not a new one and not one that anyone disputes. I am a kind and generous person and have an extraordinary capacity for empathy, but I am also a mere mortal. I know I’d have been conflicted. Human feelings are complicated. I find it hard to believe that anyone would not have conflicted feelings in such a situation. They are there, even if hidden from the surface. Hence my reticence.

ist2_6563341-under-constructionWhen I met my birth mother she did not ask that, and her husband and sons did not ask that. But it is possibly there and I feel a sort of outsiderness, and so I am determined to not ‘want’ a thing. They are wonderful people and they seem to genuinely love me but only my birth mother is possibly completely free of such feelings. I understand that and do not condemn it, for it makes them real, and human. I’d not expect them to be superhuman. I admire real people. I do not believe in perfect people. I am suspicious of seemingly perfect people who seem to never have a conflicted or negative or insecure thought. That cannot be possible. Not of humans.

ist2_7035453-private-propertyBut I did not want a thing actually and just wanted to meet her. I knew I’d possibly disrupt her life and I’d possibly be seen as an intruder and that freaked me out. This is why it took years to finally decide to do the search. You don’t know what you’ll find or how you’ll be received and I was totally against a possible disruption of her life. I was struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a huge and painful family trauma and did not want to inflict trauma on anyone else. I had complete respect for what I imagined her circumstances must have been and I was grateful to her for that. But at some point the search agent at the orphanage from which I came said, “Are you just going to call me every 6 months as you have been doing for years or are you going to do a search?” So I made an appointment. Another friend, well aware of my reticence, informed me that she was taking the afternoon off from work and was going with me. And this is how it began.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Learning to be part of a new family, Meeting your bilogical mother, Meeting your Biological Family, Reactions from others, The Search

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