The reunion with my birth mom has been quite the journey. Even since the adoption records opened up in March 2015, I've been a sponge learning everything I can about adoption. It’s not like I recently discovered my adoption status. I’ve known for about 40 of my 48 years that I was adopted. It was just a thing. A label. It was an answer to the questions on the medical history. Don’t know, adopted.
My thirst for knowledge led me to books and adoption support meetings. I read Adoption Reunion- a Survivor's Guide. This book provided advice on how to approach reunion as well as what to expect. Next I read Reunion- a Series of Letters between a Birth Mom and the Daughter She Couldn't Keep. It was during this book that I experience the first of many “a-ha” moments. Similar to this second book, my birth mom and I exchanged letters and emails as we developed our relationship. The end of the book contained the following paragraph from the adoptee:
As hard as this reunion has sometimes been, it has also been profoundly healing. Before writing my letters to Ellen, I had never been able to really share my grief with anyone. I had spent my life pantomiming what I thought was mental health: always being in control, denying all unacceptable emotions, happy and positive all the live-long day. And it had kept me in a state of emotional limbo. I hadn’t been fully living my life.
This paragraph written by the daughter really hit home. I was trained to believe how lucky I was to be adopted. I was "chosen." And it is true. I've had a very successful life due to the opportunities presented to me by my adoption. But the adoption did cause a loss that I was never able to grieve before, until now. I was taught to pack those emotions away. Over the past two months, those emotions have been able to come out. I am allowing myself to grieve the loss. But by allowing this grief, I have room for the joy - and the joy is wonderful. I feel more connected to my family and everything around me. This is truly amazing. The relationship I am developing with my birth mom is more than I could ever dream of.
My birth mom and talk frequently about the impact this a-ha moment had on me. We call it the transformation of Marni. I’ve always been an outgoing overachiever type personality. However, having the opportunity to recognize and grieve a loss has resulted in the most profound healing of my soul. I didn’t know there was a broken piece inside of me, but once it was healed I experienced the most amazing feeling of love and gratitude.
I hope you experience your own a-ha moments. They may not all be happy ones, but investing time in yourself by reading and attending meetings can be worthwhile. You never know when a paragraph from a book or a statement from another adoptee at a meeting helps you fit that last piece of the puzzle into the big picture. The time and effort you invest in yourself can pay off with big rewards.