The letter was delivered to my birth mother yesterday. Now, I wait.
A friend asked me if I was nervous and I actually hadn’t considered how I was feeling. Nervous? No. Hopeful? No. I told her that I have no expectations, but that’s not entirely true, either. I guess I mostly feel frustrated, disappointed that I have to pursue this so tenaciously.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I don’t easily take no for an answer. My career started in sales and moved into executive management. To me, no mostly means not yet. Find another way. Try harder. Even for me, waiting to get information for 23 years is a long time and I am not exactly sure what I’ll do if she doesn’t respond at all or doesn’t respond favorably.
I feel that there is a degree of ‘let it go, already’ out there, but I am firm in my resolve to learn about my birth father and that side of my heritage. Not all adult adoptees of closed adoptions are so passionate and there was a time where I wasn’t either. Throughout high school, college, graduate school, and into my 20s I had no interest whatsoever in finding my birth family. My feeling, back then, was along the lines of ‘they gave me up and they don’t get to know me’. Oh, the self-centeredness of youth! And, for almost two decades, my non-identifying information was enough. With its arrival in 1991, there was an integration of what I knew myself to be with where I’d come from.
But, two things drive me now: first and foremost, I am a mother and I have one son for whom this is his story, too. In the file marked “I would do anything for him”, I feel that if I can get this information for him and if he grows up with it, he won’t feel the void that I did throughout my life. He may never be that interested because it will just be part of the story he’s always known. And, secondly, it is information being withheld from me that is about me. There is no scenario, not one, wherein, I wouldn’t want to know the paternal side of my family. Even if the story my birth mother told the adoption agency (that she and my birth father were in love and dated for three years) was fiction and even if some horrible set of criminal circumstances surrounded my conception, I have the right to know. How I process and what I do with the information is up to me. PERIOD.
I also feel like her obligation to me didn’t end with giving birth to me. It only started then. Whatever compelled her to have vs. abort me, necessitates, at least in my mind, her giving me the information that pertains to who I am and where I come from. Wanting the know this is not the same as wanting a relationship with anyone in my birth family. It is data that will answer life long questions that I have (Who do I look like? Where does my olive skin come from? r my almond shaped eyes? or my high cheek bones? or my big big toes? or my big feet? or my myriad health conditions? And what genetic disease processes am I predisposed to?).
How much of who I am is nurture vs nature? That is such a profound question to me because of the unique set of circumstances surrounding my life. I know and own who I am. Having been raised in such emotional dysfunction has me wondering, though, about the role that my genes played in shaping who I am, if they did.
The waiting is the hardest part.