Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Where We Belong

I have been considering what, if anything, to do regarding the last note I received from my birth mother. I can’t believe I received it in January and still have yet to respond. I am sure she prefers it that way and as I’ve expressed before, just confirming who she is has brought a measure of peace to my life long wonderings. But, and here is the thing, I do not believe I have gotten what I need and deserve from her. I took such great care in what I said in my letters when I did reach out and she responded in an emotionally stunted, distant way. Clearly, since she grew up knowing her biological family she can not relate to the questions I have about mine. And, frankly, it pisses me off.

I’m sorry that finding her was not in her plan. It’s too bad that she’s wiped clean her memories from that time. But, here is the thing, I deserve to have the answers to basic questions regarding my origins but she hasn’t given them to me. And, she is the only living biological relative I have. At 72 and considering how ‘old’ she feels, time is ticking.

I recently read Emily Griffin’s Where We Belong. It is the first novel I’ve read completely dedicated to adoption. It is told, in alternating chapters, from Kirby, the 18 year old adopted young woman, and Marian, her wildly successful, television producer birth mother’s perspectives. So much of how Kirby views her adoption resonated with me and I shared many of the things she recounts (having a sister who is biological to her parents, never really fitting in, the longing to see someone who she resembles). When she turned 18, Kirby was allowed access to the contact information of her birth mother. And, given that she is 18 and head strong, she appears at her birth mother’s door unannounced. I fully appreciated her reasons for doing so and wish that so many decades didn’t separate me from my birth mother as I would have likely done the same thing had I found her earlier.

The only issue I had with how the book handled adoption from both characters points of view was the repeated use of the term “gave away”. Kirby wondered what kind of person her birth mother was to have given her away and Marian wondered how Kirby felt having been given away. I know it is all semantics, and there are more politically correct terms now, like the more pleasing placed. But, yes, at one time and I am sure still now, the term often applied is gave away as if referring to items sets aside for Goodwill.

What has stayed with me is how tenacious Kirby was in seeking out her birth mother in the first place (lying to her parents about where she was going, taking her savings to buy a bus ticket from her Midwest hometown to New York where her birth mother lives, and knocking on her door). I can’t help but wonder how things would have been different if I just showed up. In fact, we are attending a wedding in New Jersey in June, 2013 and I’ve considered making a detour to MA and doing just that.

It is not that I want a confrontation or to even upset my birth mother, but the matter of the questions I have surrounding my birth family and my origins has not been settled, far from it, from the two notes I’ve received from her. The two things I want most are a picture of her (with my birth father, if possible) and my birth father’s name. I think my next communication with her should be a hand written note asking for both pieces of information, pushing her for a response on both counts. I’ve envisioned her either not responding or not being forthcoming and my final communication would be to let her know that my family and I are coming to town. It would not be intended as a threat but a final opportunity for her to spare me the trip.

I have had more than one person who lives on the east coast near my mother’s home town, offer to do recon for me. And, believe me, the offers are attractive and specific: to snap a picture of her. It seems so easy, right? A friend goes to her house, parks down or across the street, and takes a picture of her coming out or returning home. It seems victimless in that she wouldn’t know, and I’d get part of what I want most. It’s what a paid private investigator would do. It’s clean, no harm, no foul. But, it just doesn’t seem right. Hell, I don’t even know what is right in this circumstance. Is it right for me to be denied my heritage? Is it right that she basically ignored my requests for information? Is it right that I know who she is and that she could die before I ever get to see one person on this planet who looks like me?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of deserve is “to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital”.  And doesn’t my quest all boil down to that?  To feel worthy.

“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.”
~Wayne Dyer

4 comments to Where We Belong

  • Anna

    This is so complicated that I’m not sure where to start but I can see that you have important needs that, it seems, she could fulfill. I don’t know how I would proceed on the photo front, it makes me feel uneasy – having said that though, if my daughter was separated from me at some point but needed that unobtrusive service from me I would hope she would photograph me as much as she wanted. I think that keeping trying is all that you can do and that you must follow your instincts here,x

  • Ugh, it makes me so mad that she can’t have more empathy for your needs. Especially as she approaches her ‘sunset years’ — isn’t this when many people look to set things right, make peace, etc? I guess a lot of people are also frustratingly set in their ways, too. But yeah, I’m not sure how I’d handle this. I feel like I’d almost rather have a private investigator do the sleuthing, as it would remove some of the emotion that having a friend involved might add.

    That book sounds interesting. I read something recently that questioned how many adoptees were told by their parents how special it was that they were ‘chosen’, and how that could explain why folks (like me!) have always felt this anxiety that somehow I could also be returned like a toaster or something that was purchased and not liked/loved enough. This may not be a common experience, but it has really given me some major food for thought.

  • Jen

    I don’t blame you at all for being angry about the lack of detail in her responses to you. I’m glad you are planning on writing a response that is a little more pointed. You will at least know that you gave her every opportunity to provide you with the basic information you are requesting. I’m fascinated by her lack of response to you. I wonder how she manages to not explore her own emotions and curiosities. What the heck is that about? I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I can’t imagine if I had to place a child, I think my curiosity would be so incredibily strong and would linger my whole life. I simply don’t understand people who don’t have that! I just got Emily Griffin’s book Where We Belong out of the library last week but haven’t started it. Now I can’t wait to start it tonight. I too would take up a friend on getting a snapshot of her, I see nothing whatsoever wrong with that.

  • Rebecca

    Gosh, I would totally take a friend up on the offer of a picture. If she is walking in public, I don’t see an ethical problem. The whole world could see her and so could you if you were in the same town. That seems less threatening to her than showing up on her doorstep (though I have to admit that I’d probably do this if I wasn’t getting any response). Maybe she’d do better in a live conversation, though. Seeing a living, breathing biological child might very well prompt her into sharing more information.

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