It always amazes me how the human mind works, how we can be so driven by emotion and history.
Someone I know recently made the point that it doesn't matter whether a birthmother's intentions when relinquishing were noble or just - it's only the perception that the adoptee has the relinquishment that matters to the adoptee. I think at some level I've always felt that I was "left." It didn't have to be the truth for me to feel that way. It's been a challenge for me in my relationship with Sylvia to put aside those emotions and feelings of rejection and deal with her as the person she is today, not the person that she was then, or even the person she is with the other members of my family. If I stay mad at her forever for those feelings of being abandoned, how can I ever have a relationship with her? Bottom line: I can't. To this day, I don't know if I want to or not.
Since I wrote my reunion story, my relationships with the members of my birthfamily have undergone so many changes, both positive and difficult. At the time of this writing (January 2002) I have not spoken to Sylvia in more than a year and a half. Maybe someday we will have a relationship with each other. Or, maybe we will not. I don't know.
I think I'm starting how to learn to conduct relationships with my birth relatives as individuals rather than as one massed entity. And they're somehow less intimidating when taking one by one. Our relationships seem to all have normalized into "givens." I know Vicki is there. I know Jennifer is there. I know Sylvia, grandmother, my brother Doug, Christan - all of them - are there. They're not going to abandon me or leave me behind. Don't get me wrong, I'm still learning. But I feel more grounded these days, more like a "real" person. I don't think the credit for that can go entirely to being reunited with my birthfamily - I've been through so many major changes in the last few years including the reunion, a divorce, a cross-country move, remarriage, the birth of my first child - and I think that all of these elements have helped to shape a better self-confidence and a firmer foundation in me. For the first time in my life I am learning to trust my feelings, to trust other people, and to open up to new possibilities. I find it easier to make friends, and easier to be open with other people. I feel like I know who I am now. Meeting Vicki was such a big part of that. Meeting someone in whom I could see nearly all of the elements of my own personality displayed without reservation, without apology, with total confidence and assurance helped me to see those things in me, helped me to identify myself and see that I am okay just the way I am. Seeing my birthfamily as a whole, warts and all, has helped me learn to accept other people more easily, to see that people aren't all good or all bad, but shades of both.
I'm probably done updating these pages for a while now. With my daughter in my life and my relationships with my families growing and changing (as family relationships do) it is impossible to provide any reasonably coherent updates to the story on a regular basis. My birth family has become regular family - just like any other family, we talk, we fight, we complain, we compliment, we love, and we coexist together in that eternal push and pull that all families experience. If you are filled with a burning desire to know more, feel free to drop me an email and I'll be happy to fill you in.