After attending the Adoption Mosaic: Reunion Panel, I started reading a book called Found by Jennifer Lauck. Jennifer was a member of the panel at the event and after hearing parts of her story, I knew I had to read her book. Found is a memoir that follows her journey to find her birth mother after a very painful childhood.
Although I can't even come close to relating to the author's difficult upbringing, it was her feelings about adoption, her birth mother and reunion that really hit home. I knew that this process was going to be a soul searching experience, but after stirring up some of the thoughts, questions and uncertainties that I have now... I find myself second guessing how far I am prepared to dig.
I am starting to piece things together and really delve into who I am and why I am the way that I am. I find myself being my own therapist and "processing" my feelings. All of this uncertainty is uncomfortable... leading to the urge to run. Running away has always been an instant response to any form of commitment. I have avoided change ALL my life and when events have taken place without my control, I have never handled them well.
When I was 19 years old, I was in a relationship that involved multiple forms of abuse and I couldn't see clearly what was happening to me or the decisions I was making because I needed to be needed, loved and wanted. After escaping that situation, I finally got my life back to a safe and healthy state. I felt peace and calm. I branched out and moved to Utah seeking independence and a change of scenery. I started beauty school, attempting to finish a task, just for me. I have always been an amazing "starter" with high hopes and much momentum, but finishing... completing... committing, was rare. I thought I was ready to overcome this disease of fear and become a hair stylist. After about 9 months into the 12 month program, I lost it. I broke down and couldn't finish. The idea of completing the program and having a set occupation was somehow too much for me to handle. I flew home... running away and hiding from my problems. My reasons or excuses for leaving have never been concrete, but I still feel peace with my decision. A few months later, I returned to Utah... moved apartments, starting a chapter in my life with a new job, new friends and a clean slate. I was at peace again.
As I look back, it scares me how at peace I was and still am when I run away. I routinely quit... and never look back, feeling relief and joy for getting as far away from the conflict as I possibly can.
All of this changed when I found my husband. I had dated a lot before meeting him... looking and needing to be loved. My husband and I met through Match.com (I still cringe when I have to share that piece of information) while he was deployed in Iraq. We e-mailed and talked on the phone for a month with no intention of dating or a relationship. When he got back home, we met in person... I guess you could say it was love at first sight. We picked out a ring two days later and then he proposed three days after that. I knew I loved I him but when we got married, that meant change. Let's just say, it wasn't easy for me and I definitely made it everything but an easy adjustment for him. But, there was one change in the cycle of fear and running... I didn't. I haven't. He's my husband for time and all eternity. I am committed and will do anything and everything for my marriage.
Next... my daughter. Having a baby wasn't scary to me until after we brought her home from the hospital. Again... change. I wanted to run. I loved her but didn't know what to do with change. It took the support of my husband, family, lots of diet coke and a monthly refill of antidepressants to get me through. But, I didn't run.
So you see... the cycle is slowly reversing but the urge is still there.
I received an e-mail from my birth sister two weeks ago and she had attempted to translate it via Google Translator. When I tried to sift through the sentences... it was frustrating and disappointing. I couldn't understand a word. It made me realize how big of a barrier the language and culture are and will continue to be in this process and relationship. It is this setback that leads to so many questions I have, even beyond the issue of communication.
"how could I be so naive to think that this could work?"
"how will I ever really know and understand my birth mom?"
"is it possible to have a relationship?"
"will I get hurt?"
and then... I dig deeper...
"did she ever want to keep me?"
"has she thought me in the last 24 years?"
"I was relinquished two days after birth... but what were those two days we had together like?"
"does my constant need to be loved and wanted come from being abandoned as an infant?"
"why do I constantly need reaffirmation that I am loved?"
and so many more...
Where do I go from here?