It has felt like a year and a lifetime since information about my mother was relayed to me. In reality, only a year has passed since her restaurant was discovered. Time has moved quickly and stood still all at once. While this year has presented much more information than I have had access to before, my letters have remained unanswered. Questions remain unanswered.
My time frame for reconnecting continues to dwindle.
As I continue to analyze and assess my relinquishment and subsequent adoption, I I have found more compassion for myself and the choices I have made. Unexpectedly, I have become more open to accepting the duality of my feelings rather than thinking in absolutes. This has proven to be somewhat healing for me.
I am neither the villain nor the hero in my story. Just the same, neither is my mother.
A Year with Grief and Lack of Respect
I have written about the grief I have felt as I have continued through the birth parent search. However, a theme that comes back to me time and time again is that of respect. While I do not know the details, I understand the societal structure of shame unwed mothers face. That understanding has been the foundational piece for much of how I previously viewed her decision.
Understanding the reasons for relinquishment, a part of me wants to respect the decision she made. To respect the fact that both of us are living lives we most likely would not have been able to live had we not been separated. I do not need to reconnect with her to know this much is true. I cannot go back in time and change the course of decisions made, but I can question how she has treated me as an adult.
While I have grown and aged, I am still the child she relinquished. As such, I deserve to be treated with respect.
Holding Space for Oneself
I’ve received push back for the views about my mother. Growing up, it was because I didn’t think about her situation enough. In college, it was that I wasn’t grateful enough for the decisions made. Subsequently, I was also not grateful enough for the adoptive parents that I had. The ever-present criticism for how I felt about my own life rained down like an unrelenting hailstorm.
If there is anything I have learned over the course of this search, it is to include oneself in the process. My feelings tend to ebb and flow, neither being completely angry nor completely content. But learning to accept whatever they are has been a dramatic shift from the burden of guilt that previously plagued much of how I felt.
I owe no one reasons for how I feel about my life. This process has given me the agency to finally believe it.
My search may have started out as a means to reconnect with my mother. But I am realizing it has opened a door to ultimately connect with the person who has been waiting for connection their entire life.