It took me almost a week to decide I was going to send her a message, but only about 20 minutes to figure out what to say. My subject line was cryptic, the month, year and city of my birth. I hoped it wouldn’t be deleted as spam that way. The message was simple, “my apologies for intruding but I came across your name while searching for ‘birthmother’s maiden name‘ if this is you I’d very much like to speak to you if you are interested. If not, sorry for the unsolicited message.”
Then I waited. The longest wait of my life.
There is a proverb from Confucius that says “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves”. Clearly revenge isn’t the goal, but that proverb bounces around my head as I recall my search for my birth mother. I feel it’s really important to point out that you will be changed by your search. The proverb feels like both a warning of being careful how you proceed and also knowing that the search and the results will alter everyone’s life forever.
please note that these comments, opinions and experiences are my own, your mileage may vary
Things not to say to an adopted person
1. Please don’t tell them to be grateful
All children should be grateful to their parents, not just adopted ones. They supported you financially and emotionally (hopefully) and you owe them a debt of gratitude, even God made it one of the big 10 (top 5 even so it must be important!). Why then would an adoptee (what adopted people call themselves) be singled out and told this? Well the truth is it’s ignorance but the underlying message re-affirms the belief that adopted people are somehow flawed or broken, or at the least, less than. I should be grateful because my biological parents abandoned me and as something unwanted and unloved I should be grateful someone took me in and gave me a home? Like I am some neighborhood stray?
The most interesting / uninteresting thing about me is that I’m adopted.
This is one of the first pictures taken of me. Cameras and film were expensive circa 1969, although I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of pictures, rounding them up and transferring them to digital is a slow process. Anyway, that’s me.
I vaguely remember the brouhaha when the emails surfaced but I quickly moved on as celebrity gossip barely interests me, but something about this article from The Week really bothered me.
Kudos (I guess) to PBS for owning up to letting some spoiled celebrity exert undue influence on them, but seriously Ben Affleck? What kind of asshat isn’t man enough to step up and say, “these are my people and they made choices I completely disagree with but thank God we’ve learned the lessons of history”. Or something.