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Not Lost. Don’t Find Me.

I just saw an ad for a TV show on WE TV for a new show called The Locator. The premise of the show is that this guy named Troy Dunn “reunites loved ones and reconnects lives.” That’s all fine and good—especially because he helps connect organ donors with people who need them—but the commercial showed him at a woman’s front door telling her that the baby she gave up years ago is trying to find her.

Can I just tell you? That is my worst fucking nightmare. I am adopted. Back in the day, there was none of this open adoption stuff. The mother gave up her child and that was that. I was born and went home from the hospital with my parents. End of story.

Years ago I was talking to my husband about being adopted. He asked if I ever had any interest in finding my birth parents. I think he had a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that I had no interest in opening that door. By my parents are the only people I consider to be my parents. I don’t consider them my “adoptive parents.” Just parents. They raised me. They were there through everything from birth to now.

When I was in high school my parents told me that if I had any interest in finding anything out or even finding my birth mother, they would help me. I refused. I think they were relieved. They were always very open with me about being adopted. I don’t remember there ever being a big moment when I learned The Truth. I was never made to feel different or weird. It just was. In grammar school a friend of mine found out when we were 9 that she was adopted. It totally sent her over the edge. She felt betrayed, lied to, different. So I was always grateful for how my parents handled it with me.

I’m sure some people think it’s weird or cold that I have no interest in finding my birth mother. I’m sure if I had a crappy childhood and terrible parents I’d go searching. But that’s not the case. I don’t feel a deep void. I don’t feel like a huge piece of me is missing. Every so often I wish I had my medical records. Occasionally, I wonder where my thighs came from and I wonder if my birth parents are healthy (for my health reasons). Other than that, there’s nothing I need to know.

My worst nightmare would be to open the front door and have someone standing there telling me that my birth mother wanted to meet me.

When you hear stories of this happening, it never seems to turn out well. Someone always seems to have unreasonable expectations and someone always ends up disappointed. I’m not sure what someone would want other than to make sure I turned out okay.

I know the basic story—young girl, young boyfriend, made a mistake. She did what most girls did back then and gave me up for adoption. She was too young to take on the responsibility. I’m sure it was the most difficult decision she’s ever had to make, but it was the best gift she could have given my parents. And it was the best gift she could have given me.

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9 Responses

  1. I respect your decision not to search and/or be found but it is part of the adoption mythology that only adoptees with troubled childhoods search and that reunions don’t turn out well.

    There are many mothers and children who would dispute both those statements.

  2. Thank you for your blog “Not Lost, Don’t Find Me.” Every day I think about a child like you and know trusting an adoption agency to place my baby was the right thing to do for me, for the child. And yes, I put me first because if I was not ok, you can be darn sure the child would not be ok. And in doing so, I gave the right to the family to take over what I could not.

    I will not insert myself and interupt the life and family that raised and still loves that now adult child. It’s not that I don’t care, and I’m not trying to pretend it never happened, it’s simply a matter of letting go then and always.

  3. As someone who loves you, I especially love this post..it ranks among my favorites of yours. This is not an easy topic to discuss (at least I would imagine) because how do you sort out so many feelings and thoughts and ideas that would float around your mind over such a complicated topic.

    No offense to unsigned masterpiece, but I think his/her comment is a bit off the mark. You are talking about a personal choice you made for yourself and by saying that you also aren’t saying there can’t be good reuniting experiences as well. That just isn’t what would be good for you in your own life. I have always respected and supported your decision NOT to seek because I have always understood you are satisfied with your life as is and secure in your identity Good for you.

    I’m also happy to see a comment here from someone on the other side of the equation. Very lovely and very unselfish.

  4. Unsigned Masterpiece: I don’t know if you have experience on either side of this, but I can only speak from my personal experience. I don’t know if my unwillingness to meet my birth mother or my lack of interest comes from having a good life or not. I just know that it’s no something I want to do. I think lovingly of my birth mother because she did a wonderful thing for me and for my family, but I guess I feel like parents do more than give birth to you. My parents are the people who shaped me, who supported me and guided me.
    I do know people who have sought out birth parents or vice versa and there’s usually one side who isn’t prepared or someone who isn’t open to it. It can be disappointing. And it stirs up feelings of loss all over again.

    Let It Be: I appreciate hearing your side of things. I’m sure that was a tough, painful decision for you. You should take comfort in the fact that you did the best you could for your baby. I can tell you with absolute certainty that you are thought off often with love. It really is the most unselfish gift you can give anyone.

    Lesley: Thank you! I know i can always count on your friendship and support. xoxo

  5. I am an adoptee. Please feel free to read my website.
    I definitely dispute this

    “I’m sure some people think it’s weird or cold that I have no interest in finding my birth mother. I’m sure if I had a crappy childhood and terrible parents I’d go searching.”

    I had a WONDERFUL childhood. I had and have WONDERFUL Parents.

    I miss my Mother who raised me every day, she died 8 years ago.

    I love my dad who raised me with every part of my being and i see him just about every day.

    Its not a crappy childhood or bad parents that make you go searching. It is however something that you either have or you do not.
    You either truly do not have it or you are in denial.

    I personally think anyone who has children, who does not search out their heritage to pass on to their own children is selfish. Even if they do not have a relationship with their birth mother / father etc they need to find out their heritage to pass on..
    I havent read your blog I dont know if you have children, but even if you do not and you plan to later on think about what i said. Its very important for the future generations even if not for yourself.

    Please come and join my forum if you would like to talk about adoption at all

    Cheers Jane

  6. It sounds like you’ve thought this through and have come up with the best decision for you and your life. I respect that and support you. And I wholeheartedly agree that parents are more than the ones who give birth to you. If it were only that easy!

  7. I have no experience on either side of this question, but I can understand both wanting to find your birth parents and not wanting to find your birth parents no matter how lovely your adopted parents are. I can also see how a woman who has had to give up a child would have a need to assure herself one day that she made the right decision — not necessarily looking for a relationship — just putting her mind at ease. In any case, despite what some of your commenters say, it’s a very personal decision for all parties concerned and one that has to be respected. It’s great, Mo, that you were given the opportunity of such wonderful parents.

  8. Hi Snark. This is a beautifully written story of love , understanding and of acceptance.

  9. Oh Mo – I am speaking from experience.

    I have met my son and I did not make the best decision for him. His adoption was not happy – lots of money not much love.

    An adoptee does not have enough information to say they were shaped solely by their adoptive parents – if you met your family you just might be surprised how much you got from your parents. I have seen it happen time after time in reunions.

    But I do not urge you to search if you aren’t ready.

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