Unraveling reunion-Age  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How old is old enough? So many seem to jump into a reunion when they are young, 18 or so. I took longer. I was 28 when I found Lori. At 18 I had a baby of my own and I was focused on her not my personal things. I wanted to do what I could for my daughter. After some half hearted attempts I finally found put forth serious effort to find her. I felt in a much better emotional state of mind and believed I could handle it. Lucky for me, it worked.

So my question is...is there such a thing as too young for reunion? I fully back giving adoptees their info at adulthood, it is ours and we should have it. But emotionally are 18 year olds ready for such a life changing event? So much is new to them, responsibilities and expectations that have never rested on their shoulders in the past. Then adding a reunion, sometimes it can be simply too much.
I truly feel that if a reunion takes place at 18 and fails, then it should be tried again later. So much changes through our 20s, life forks in so many ways, its no surprise so many falter and fizzle out. Maturity comes from experience and at 18, you have limited experience. I don't care how you were raised, events you have faced, you are still limited in the ins and outs of the real world.

Speaking from my personal experience, I am almost fully convinced if I had reunited when I was 18-Lori and I would not have a relationship now. I can't speak for her, but I was not mature enough to tackle any of that. NO way...

So that brings us to an impass, do you or don't you?

Even though I willingly admit I would not have been able to properly cope with reunion at a young age, I also only have one huge regret in my life. One thing that if given the chance I would change. That is waiting to find Lori and Jim. Missing those years I could have had with them. It makes me so sad to look back and see that I could have had them sooner.
So...damned if you do damned if you don't....or something along that line.

I dont have the answers on what is the proper age, the safe age, the average age that reunion should take place. But I can say that if a reunion does not go well the first time around and years pass, then maybe a second chance should be given. So much can happen in a just a few short years. A life can change dramatically. If you don't succeed the first time around, don't compeletely turn write it off forever. I'm not condoning beating the dead horse, it can be exhausting to keep trying and put yourself out there time and time again. You do have to know when to walk away, for your own sanity. But people change. Events alter views and sometimes time can give a new perspective on things, or help heal some open wounds.

I wish I could be 100% comfortable with telling people to jump on the reunion train at 18. But I'm not. What I am comfortable saying is at 18, be very honest with yourself and prepare for any outcome. And don't lose hope, if at first you dont succeed, try again. LATER. Don't write it off as done forever. I know I am not the same person I was 15 years ago and neither is anyone else.

Next post to come in a few days. Until then, chime in, let's hear your views.

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Unraveling reunion  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lori and I have been having lots of discussions on the differences in reunion. Some are so wonderous like ours. We fell into one anothers lives and could not imagine life without one another. Some are disasters. The family involved meet and realize that they wish they had never laid eyes on one another. And some fall in that middle ground, where they have a relationship, but it is not one they feel comfortable or confident in.

What makes up success, disaster or indifference in a reunion? Why are some boarderline perfect and others are straight out if a twisted best sellers list?
Are there key elements involved? Is there truly a formula for success or failure? Is there a script we can follow to increase our chances of getting the most out of our reunion? Is there a way to prepare for utter rejection?
So many questions, so many scenerios, so many lives and hearts affected by events that happened years and years ago.

Its haunting to hear the 'bad' reunion stories. Child spends so much time, energy and sometimes money to seek out the parent that could not raise them. They put their hearts on the line and take that leap of faith that they will be accepted and welcomed. Or, a parent reaches out to the absent child that they turned over to another to raise. Facing the demons that have followed them all this time. Not knowing if that said child would hate them, resent them, welcome them, love them or reject them.
But when the reunion goes well, when a parent and child come together over time, distance and effort, and they can make it work....well, then it's a fairy tale in the making. All the feelings and hurt are put aside and they are able to move forward and begin a life together. If it really goes well, biological and adoptive families can come to a middle ground and become one extend family. A branch of one another. Like Cinderella finding out Sleeping Beauty was her long lost sister and they reign the kingdom together. It's magical.

Society as a whole loves the happy ending. All is well that ends well, off into the sunset they ride. But they remember and retain the horror stories. They base their opinions on those stories. In turn, bio parents are made to be evil, drug laden dirtballs, adoptive parents are made to be saints that rival Ward and June Cleaver and adoptees are expected to be grateful, silent lambs. Our halos are to shine like the Northern Lights for all to see and bask in the beauty of. If we, as adoptees do not live up to this mirage then we are shunned for being ungrateful, heartless or even down right evil. If we act as normal non adopted children, the illusion is shattered.
If we seek out our roots, they feel we are being unfaithful to our adoptive families, that we have turned out backs on them for the love of a woman or man that 'gave us away'. Nothing can be further than the truth. Adoptees searching for their roots has nothing to do with the adoptive parents. I needed to see that I fit in somewhere, that my personality was not some freak of nature. I knew my soul mate was out there somewhere, that she longed for me like I longed for her. That she needed me, like I needed her. It was never a question of IF I would find her, it was a question of when.
You can ask Lori yourself, I am as faithful and commited to my aparents as they come. I love them with a passion that any child could have for their Mom and Dad. She is my mother, but she can not be my Mom. That is something I can't do. Not that she is any less in my mind, just that my parents have done right by me and her, Mom is a title I hold sacred.

I plan to add to this post over the next few weeks. I want to put out there some things that I feel might or might not affect the outcome to reunions and possibly adoption in general. I welcome input, share your views, brainstorm with us, respectfully disagree. It's the only way we will ever make any progress. I want to touch on age, reversion to earlier development stages and being in the fog, just to name a few things.

This is a huge undertaking filled with raw emotion, but I truly feel it needs to be done. I believe we can change things. I believe others can have peace and acceptance and I believe it will take more than myself to do it. Any that are reading these words, I invite, no I implore you to return soon. Help us take apart this diluted industry of adoption and rebuild it the way it was intended.

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