Assembling Self

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Special Adoption Reunion Story

As most people know I carry my adoption reform soapbox with me wherever I go.  I'm usually retaliating against the closed records adoption system in whatever way I can, and advocating for truth and honesty in adoption.  Have mouth will travel.  But, no matter how many diatribes we write, studies and statistics we quote, I truly believe our personal stories speak volumes too.  I call this adoption reunion story special because it's special to me as I was fortunate to witness it firsthand.  I will never forget it.

I was at work and in the course of some down time there I was relaying my adoption situation. I had a coworker speak up to say he was also adopted and was looking to find his family of origin and we immediately bonded over this and became friends.  I took down the information I had for him and went home.  Thankfully, there are so many adoption search angels that excel in finding biological family members and I contacted one I knew well.

My friend had his non-identifying adoption information from his adoption file, along with some identifying information, and knew that he had been adopted around the age of one.  He had been told his first mother had other children and his first father had left the situation and that she did not have the resources to support all of her children.  Hence my friend, the youngest, had been placed for adoption.

He, like me, had not bonded with his adoptive family and had never felt as though he was at "home".  He was not close to his adoptive family or other family members and he had, as I had, always felt like a loner in the world.  His story felt so similar to mine and I was on a mission to try and help him get some closure.  I contacted a searcher I had worked with and gave her all of the information my friend had.  Luckily he did have his first mother's name and some good basic identifying information.  We were hopeful.

The searcher I contacted came back with a woman whose name, although a different married last name, and date of birth matched what my friend had provided me with.  Her address was also in the same basic area my friend had said he had been adopted out of.  I took the info, did some further research on my own, and finally had in hand a phone number that I thought matched the woman we were looking for.  I told my friend that I thought this is the woman I believed could be his first mother and he agreed that I should contact her for him in case she did not want to hear from him.

Nervously, I dialed the phone.  A man answered and I asked for the woman we were looking for.  He said "Just a moment" and put down the phone.  I heard a woman answer "Hello" and I took a deep breath and asked her if this was "insert name" and if my friend's date of birth meant anything to her.  There was a moment of silence and she said no.  I restated what I was asking her and she said again, that no, she was not the person I was looking for.  I apologized for interrupting her and thanked her for her time.  I was disappointed to say the very least, and down hearted as I felt badly for my friend whose hope was going to be deflated.  I knew he was waiting to hear what I had found so I made that phone call that is always so hard to make.

We spoke and I related to him what this woman had said and I did the best I could to help keep his chin up knowing that nothing can take away the loss that comes with not being able to locate your biological family.  Especially, for those of us who have been rejected and denied by our adoptive families it is a double whammy.  A few days went by and the phone rang.  I answered it.  I heard a man ask if I had called "insert first mother's name" a few days back.  I said yes that I had.  I heard his voice quiver and ask if this was in relation to "insert my friend's name".  I said yes.  I could ascertain by the inflection in his voice he was trying to hold it together as best as he could and he stated that yes this was in fact the person that I was looking for, and that he was his biological brother.  It hit me all at once that if I had not known better I could swear I was speaking to my friend on the phone.  Their voices were identical!  Apparently, his mother was very ill and surprised by my call.  She had been surrounded by other people in the room and did not feel comfortable speaking to me at the time about the son she had relinquished.  But, that she did want to know him and how he was.

It was then my friend's biological brother broke down some more and said he had been a few years older  and had always wondered where the little boy he used to play with went.  I was also having a hard time not becoming emotional as I was so moved by this brother who had obviously never recovered from the unexplained absence of his little brother.  I told him how similar their voices were and that they were obviously brothers.  He spoke of the circumstances of their childhood, his mother's dilemma trying to take care of her children by herself no family to help, and the fact that none of them had ever forgotten him but had no way of knowing where he was at.  I asked for his phone number and could I give it to my friend he immediately said yes.

I called my friend who was absolutely thrilled and took the phone number I had for his brother.  A day later he called to tell me he and his brother had spent hours on the phone.  The similarities that ran in their lives, including their voices, were proof that genetics speak loudly and clearly.  We, as adoptees, are the ones who know what weight and the importance of heredity carries.

I moved, my friend moved, and we lost touch.  I do not know to this day the total outcome of their story.  I know that they had plans to spend time together and for my friend to meet his biological mother and the rest of his siblings.  What I do remember hearing is two men brought back to being little boys when life split them apart, returning to recover that portion that had been lost and covered up, and making up for missing years.  I heard healing and joy.  I heard pain overcome and hearts reunited.  I hope for them the best.

Life is not a fairy tale nor do adoptees expect one.  We are only asking for the truth.  Our lives are based on changed names, changed dates, and falsifications and lies and we know, better than anyone, that truth is always better than fiction.

1 comment:

  1. precisely we do not expect fairly tales. just the truth. and this was a lovely story with a lovely outcome