Thursday, August 18, 2011

one thing i am really guilty of when it comes to blogging is telling every story and painting every picture in a way that my readers will see through rose-colored glasses. i don't really know why i do it, but it's a flaw i've become painfully aware of. i think that may be why the 12/13/10 blog might have been a bit of a shock for some of you -- because it took such a different tone from the rest of the year's entries. i've come to the conclusion that, not only is this is not fair to you because you're only seeing one side of the story, but it is actually a true disservice. and it's stupid of me because, no matter how i might try to portray it, you guys are smart enough to see that my life is most definitely not a perfect fairytale.

one major point of frustration for me these past 10 months has been the severe lack of resources out there for "post-reunion" adoptees. these are those (few) individuals who have been given the opportunity to meet with their birth families. this shortage of information is certainly understandable as reunions are a bit of a rare phenomena (i've heard the statistic that only 2% of adoptees have this opportunity, though i personally feel that this number might be a bit understated), but the fact remains: we do exist! so why is there no information out there? the little information that i have come across could barely be considered POST-reunion because the story always ends with the picture of the happy, smiling faces of the family AT the reunion. so the question is: what comes after that?

though some might beg to differ, i definitely feel like there is this common misconception in the adoptee community that post-reunion adoptees are the "lucky ones." please don't misunderstand me: i feel incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience all that i have in the past 10 months! however, i think many people forget that it doesn't all end with the reunion pictures. there is a whole life to be lived after that. and it's not all smiles. and honestly, i've had more than one occasion when i've thought to myself, "if i'm supposed to be one of the lucky ones, how come i'm not feeling very lucky?"

there is so much i wish i'd been told before i met my birth family in that tiny Holt conference room last year. for starters, "once you make the decision to meet, you can never take it back. this will affect every part of the rest of your life." or "boundaries are healthy. don't be afraid to draw them early." or "the language barrier is debilitating. it will be extremely frustrating and more than difficult for your family to communicate the things you so desperately want to communicate." if only i'd known then what i know now...

so, in a bit of a turn from what has become this blog's "norm," i'm going to begin sharing bits from the other side of the reunion. of course i am happy with the place my life is currently at. of course i wouldn't change my decision to meet my birth family. and of course i will still be sharing stories about the joy that has come from that reunion. but i want to be honest with you and show you that reunion isn't the perfect cure-all that it has, at times, been made out to be. i think my readers deserve that.

while i don't have a PhD and i'm certainly no scholar on this topic, i think i do have some valuable life experiences to contribute to the adoption discourse.

so i hope that this will be helpful to you...
// to my fellow post-reunion adoptees: you are strong, courageous, and commendable. i hope you can feel comfortable sharing your experiences and adding to the discussions.
// to those adoptees who are searching: i hope that this will give you some "food for thought" and help you prepare mentally and emotionally for what may be in your future.
// to parents of adoptees: i hope that this will help you understand what a rollercoaster this experience could be for your child. strap yourselves in and get ready for a crazy ride.
// to the adoption community as a whole: i hope that this will be an honest look into the side of the story that has been largely untold. please don't be angry at me for that.

// to all of my readers: thank you for your ever-present love, support, and genuine interest. i hope that you, too, will each feel comfortable adding to the dialogue. our unique views & opinions make this whole experience what it is. when it comes to navigating these waters, i think it's true what they say: there's no such thing as a stupid question.


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