Every Separation Is A Link

I recently consulted via Skype with a fellow adult adoptee who had recently gained her birth mother’s contact information and was seeking my advice in deciding upon a method of contact that may feel the least intrusive to her birth mom.

Before our scheduled consult, I re-read a bit of Simone Weil’s work, and felt guided by her quote:

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.

Prior to contacting me this adoptee had already surveyed her husband, friends and other adoptees, in an effort to gauge and quantify the risks of choosing snail mail vs email, vs a phone call etc. to make this first contact.  She was working so hard in contemplating how she could tactfully and respectfully gain this precious (albeit basic and foundational) information.  She was working so hard trying to appease everyone else, and trying to preemptively ensure that her birthmother would feel comfortable in an inherently uncomfortable position.  During the course of our conversation, she coyly asked: “How do I explain how it is that I found her phone number?  I had to snoop (search angels, confidential intermediaries, agency contacts etc.) to find it!” My response:

Of course you had to sleuth! How else does an adoptee in a closed adoption gain this information?

It is only through the unfortunate separation of this adoptee and her birth family that she and I were able to be linked together. We shared a life-giving conversation that both honored others while she learned the value of honoring herself in weighing her personal thoughts of best practice in this unchartered territory. As Simone Weil states; “Compassion directed toward oneself is true humility.”

Adoptees have a unique understanding of the fact that our rights are largely subject to varying circumstances, however we cannot deny the incredible pull we feel in needing to know our roots. There is no perfect way for even the most sycophant of adoptees to gain information that should’ve been made available years ago.

6 thoughts on “Every Separation Is A Link

  1. Angela, this is so wise and moving. It made me tear up. So often I’ve felt like a criminal for trying to make contact with birth family. That quote by Weil helps put it in more of a context. Love.

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  2. Years ago when I was in search of my Birth Father I went so far as to have my uncle make the initial contact as I didn’t want to disrupt his family in the case that they didn’t know about me yet. I wanted to make sure his wife didn’t think that some random woman was calling his home looking for him. In the end everything turned out wonderful but I spent months fretting about how to contact him.

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  3. Thank you Angela. Btw: a couple of years ago IL changed its closed adoption rules to allow for adoptees to obtain their original birth certificate, and join a registry.
    I did this. I was hoping my birth father would be named, sadly he was not.

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