Tuesday, June 28, 2016
This question leads me to immediately think of my daughters and grandson. They bring me such joy. Just envisioning their faces, makes me smile.
But as any parent will tell you, there are times a child will do or say something that makes you wonder about their decision making capabilities or ability for empathy. With an adopted child, there may be times that they say something about a birth parent that isn’t exactly positive. Sometimes, they are downright angry.
As a mother, I have had these discussions over the years. I have listened to my daughter as she expresses sadness and resentment as to why she wasn’t raised by her birthmother. This can be quickly followed by statements of how happy she is that she wasn’t and that I am the greatest mother she could have asked for.
While I am reassured of her statement about me, I can understand why she has such feelings of anger towards her birthmother. The woman had two children before she was born and then had two more after. Only my daughter was raised by another family (mine). So while as much as I try to understand her feelings, I can never truly be in her shoes. Only by listening can I get a perspective.
At first, she made contact with her birthmother to work out some of her feelings. Her mother made promises about sharing her existence with her siblings. She would agree to talk to her children – over and over again – but never followed through, causing my daughter additional anguish. For making her feel as if she was “unwanted”, “had done something wrong” or was “an embarrassment”.
So my daughter took the matter into her own hands and reached out to her siblings (who are all over age 18). I was nervous when she told me she did so, but thrilled when I found they were so eager to get to know her.
She has reconnected with her siblings (through Facebook) and now texts and talks to them frequently. They recently have added sending one another videos. She is a big sister and middle child all at the same time. Through them, she became an aunt. They share daily happenings and plans for the future. They talk about meeting one day soon. Her conversations with her siblings always bring a smile to her face.
These relationships have reassured her of her ethnic and cultural background. They give her some insight into the life she may have lived and the type of mother she would have had. However they cannot replace the relationship with her birthmother, for whom she still holds a resentment for not sharing her existence with her siblings.
My daughter took her life and her needs in her own hands and took steps to heal, by connecting with her siblings. Many adopted children feel this is a less pressured way to have a connection with their origin and heritage. It allows them to know their background without the highly emotional charge of dealing with birthparents, for whom they may have mixed feelings, including anger and resentment.
They say a parent can only be as happy as their saddest child. So mothers and fathers like to see their children happy. I am proud of my daughter for being such a strong and determined woman. Who knew what she needed to do to feel whole.
Her strength and courage make me smile.